HILARY JOFFE: Lessons from a tale of two private sectors in the worst of times
If the Solidarity Fund demonstrates how much power SA's private sector has for good, events this week reminded us how much potential it has for harm
'The private sector in SA is often underrated," said one CEO, commenting on the remarkable story of the Solidarity Fund, a uniquely South African partnership set up by business in March as a rapid response initiative to support the government in dealing with the Covid crisis. The R3.1bn fund, which this week provided an update on its first six months, has come to the government's rescue by donating the $19.2m (about R320m) down payment needed for SA to join the global Covax initiative and ensure vaccines for 10% of the population. This isn't the first time it's come to SA's rescue. Crucially, in the early stages of the crisis, it went out globally to source and procure hundreds of millions of rands worth of personal protective equipment, ventilators and testing kits.
If the Solidarity Fund demonstrates how much power SA's private sector has for good, events this week reminded us how much potential it has for harm, to the country and to itself...