S. African billionaire donates US$57 mil to virus fight

Motsepe, President Cyril Ramaphosa’s brother-in-law, is the head of investment firm African Rainbow Capital. (Reuters pic)

JOHANNESBURG: South African billionaire businessman Patrice Motsepe said on Saturday his group of companies would donate 1 billion rand (US$57 million) to help fight the coronavirus outbreak that has forced the country into total lockdown as infections climb.

South Africa entered a 21-day lockdown on Friday with people restricted to their homes and most businesses shuttered.

The country has reported 1,170 cases of coronavirus and now faces a near certain deep recession.

Motsepe, President Cyril Ramaphosa’s brother-in-law and head of investment firm African Rainbow Capital, said at a media conference the money would be channelled through the government to build water, health and education facilities.

The pledge follows a 1 billion rand donation each by the Oppenheimer and Rupert families, and a government package of more than 3 billion rand for industrial firms, and comes a day after the country lost its last investment-grade credit rating.