30 March 2020

  • Initial R15m contribution towards COVID-19 fight.
  • Funds will extend access to testing and hygiene materials in marginalised communities.
  • Public health and reporting awareness campaign in partnership with government and GovChat.
  • R700 000 worth of food redirected from cancelled Absa Cape Epic to vulnerable communities.

Absa has donated an initial R15m towards various initiatives aimed at dealing with the impact of COVID-19 in South Africa. R10m will go to the Solidarity Fund, and a further R4m to civil society organisations involved in the fight against the pandemic, and R1m for a range of preventative, protective and vaccine research initiatives.

“Absa recognises that COVID-19 is a serious public health issue that will have profound economic and social consequences. The rate of escalation in infections confirms that the steps taken by government to deal with this pandemic are both necessary and urgent. Considering the impact that COVID-19 will have on ordinary South Africans and the economy, decisive action from all of us is essential to protect human life and socioeconomic sustainability,” said Daniel Mminele, Group Chief Executive of Absa Group.

The Solidarity Fund was established by government to support the most vulnerable to deal with the impact of COVID-19. The Fund will complement government resources allocated to the national public health response to prevent and slow down the spread of the virus.

In addition to the financial contribution, Absa has partnered with the department of social development and GovChat in a public awareness and hygiene education campaign using the bank’s sports broadcast advertising spots and prominent football personalities. Absa is the title sponsor of South Africa’s Absa Premiership league competition that is broadcast on DStv SuperSport and SABC.

GovChat is a digital platform that connects ordinary citizens to government services. To help with the effort against the pandemic, GovChat’s service delivery notification service is being used to help citizens use their mobile phones to notify health authorities, and be directed to appropriate health facilities. The data will also assist authorities to identify COVID-19 hotspots at any given time in order to manage resource allocation.

In addition, Absa is redirecting R700 000 worth of food and supplies initially intended for the Absa Cape Epic in the Western Cape, which was cancelled, towards vulnerable communities that will be hard-hit during the lockdown.

“COVID-19 is an unprecedented challenge against which we have to stand together and collaborate to protect human health and life, and to ensure continued socioeconomic sustainability. We will continue to monitor developments and work with relevant authorities and stakeholders to find solutions,” said Mminele.