Coronavirus: Mamelodi Sundowns owner Motsepe pledges R1 billion to fight pandemic in South Africa

Mamelodi Sundowns owner Patrice Motsepe, the Motsepe Foundation and associated companies such as African Rainbow Minerals and African Rainbow Capital, have pledged R1 billion toward the fight against the coronavirus. 

The Brazilians boss, who is the co-founder and chairperson of the Motsepe Foundation, announced the news in a press briefing which was held in Johannesburg on Saturday, saying a chunk of the money will benefit poor communities who he believes are not as prepared as those in major cities of South Africa.

"Today is indeed a very important day in the history of South Africa but also an important day for us as a [Motsepe] family," said Motsepe before handing over to his wife, Dr. Precious Moloi-Motsepe to read the press statement.  

"The Motsepe family together with associated companies pledge R1 billion towards dealing with the coronavirus pandemic and other related challenges," read Moloi-Motsepe.  

The money will be spent on sanitisers, personal protective equipment, water tankers, drilling activities for boreholes, assisting university students in keeping up with their studies whilst at home, computer laboratories and building more classrooms in schools across all nine provinces.

"Poor communities are ill-prepared to deal with the threat and the consequences of the Covid-19 pandemic and various diseases that confront society. It is the poor that will be the primary focus of the partnership," Motsepe said in his address to the media.

"It is important that we come together [as a country]. It is important that we send a message to the poor and the marginalised, to say; 'we will always be there'. In these challenging times, it is important that many of our people do not feel helpless, hopeless and also that they do not panic."

Motsepe said the Foundation has already been in talks with the South African government about their intention to lend a helping hand while confirming they will also be working with other leaders, including traditional and religious leaders, among other stakeholders, to help fight what he described as an 'invisible enemy'. 

"We will deal with this pandemic as we have with other major challenges we have had," he added.

The coronavirus outbreak has seen the suspension of several leagues across the world, including the PSL, while Motsepe's club, Sundowns, and the rest of the South African teams have had to temporarily close shop following the announcement of a 21-day lockdown by President Cyril Ramaphosa earlier this week. 

During Ramaphosa's announcement, he revealed the Rupert and Oppenheimer families also donated  R1 billion each to help small businesses and their employees affected by the coronavirus.