Corporate South Africa offering their support to communities impacted by Covid-19

From the property sector to banking, companies have been supporting their customers and clients.

With South Africa entering its tenth week of lockdown, companies have thrown their support behind those impacted by Covid-19. 

Executives from many of South Africa’s large banks and companies have all put a third of their salaries toward the Solidarity Fund, 

Growthpoint Properties is one of the companies extending a helping hand.

Growthpoint group CEO Norbert Sasse says: 

“At this definitive moment in South Africa’s history, we are committed to supporting the national efforts to limit the impacts of Covid-19. The Solidarity Fund is a powerful example of the generosity, compassion and patriotism shown by South Africans in this time of crisis. I am incredibly proud that everyone at Growthpoint has stepped up at this truly ‘Thuma Mina’ moment.”

Supporting their supporters

Growthpoint has also discounted rentals of impacted businesses in April and May to the value of R200 million to sustain them through the lockdown. This number includes 1,494 small and micro retailers and has protected the jobs of those working for recipients. 

All Growthpoint suppliers also continue to be paid in full, regardless of the capacity of their service, to ensure they can pay their staff.

“The pandemic has had a significant impact on all sectors of society, including the property sector,” Norbert says. “Never before has it been more important for all South Africans to stand together and each do our part in the fight to limit the impacts of Covid-19. We believe it is imperative to sustain lives, jobs, communities and businesses so that we can emerge to rebuild our nation and economy.”

Growthpoint also continues to support its corporate social responsibility partners, most focused on education in previously disadvantaged communities countrywide, to ensure that these charities and initiatives can rise to the new challenges they face. Where some of their operations are proving to be impossible, Growthpoint is supporting the diversion of finances into technology that enables video streaming, WhatsApp conversations and information sharing, to support these organisations to achieve their ongoing objectives in new ways. 

Upskilling and skills exchange

Like the property industry, the hospitality industry has been hit hard by Covid-19 and lockdown. However, Wine Cellar fine wine merchants CEO Roland Peens pre-empts a wildly different future for the hospitality industry as lockdown eases and believes that upskilling and skills exchange will make a huge impact in terms of job creation, allowing job seekers to find employment in alternative industries. 

In an effort to provide a platform to upskill the hospitality workforce for the wine industry, Wine Cellar is launching #SkillsChallenge, a series of free online training conferences. 

“The Covid-19 fallout has decimated the hospitality industry and I believe the wine industry can absorb some of the lost jobs,” says Roland. “While the wine industry too will struggle moving forward, we have an undeveloped industry, especially at the fine wine level. The two industries are also highly connected as restaurants collectively sell a large portion of fine wine.”

To play a part in job creation, Wine Cellar will also be offering four apprenticeships to hospitality professionals seeking to enter the wine industry and Roland challenges all CEOs across South Africa to identify how they can transfer skills, especially those businesses that have profited over this difficult time. 

“WineCellar.co.za has been lucky to maintain robust sales during lockdown,” says Roland. Our product, fine wine, is generally aged before drinking or kept for a special occasion, which means many of our customers are happy with delayed delivery. We are very thankful to be trading and would like to give back where we can.”

Feeding communities

Hollard, which has donated R10 million towards the Solidarity Fund, will be distributing food hampers in selected communities that have been impacted by Covid-19. 

“The Covid-19 pandemic has aggravated food insecurity in the most vulnerable communities within our society,” says Hollard group head of corporate affairs Londiwe Mkhize. “We need each other now more than we ever have. The African concept of Ubuntu rooted in sharing and giving is keeping many of us alive during these trying times.”

In partnership with Lungile Mtshotwana Foundation, Hollard has distributed more than 550 food hampers in disadvantaged communities in the Eastern Cape, Western Cape and Northern Cape. 

The hampers each comprise protein such as chicken, soya mince and tinned fish, vegetables such as baked beans, potatoes and cabbage, as well as staple food like maize meal, rice, cooking oil, cake flour, spices and other essentials. 
 
“We have also made provision for some personal toiletries, of which soap is one of the important items in following health guidelines in our fight against Covid-19. This should aid in the promotion of regular and correct washing of hands as a form of good personal hygiene” she says.

Covering the public with masks

FNB is supporting the country’s efforts to contain the spread of Covid-19 by distributing 100,000 masks to SASSA beneficiaries who collect their social grants across the bank’s branches. 
 
FNB Points of Presence CEO Lee-Anne van Zyl says:

“Our measures are designed to support the country’s efforts to contain the spread of Covid-19 and we are playing our part by prioritising the wellbeing of banking customers and our frontline employees. Our branch consultants distribute the masks on first come first serve basis while beneficiaries are queuing to make withdrawals.”