News UK donates R50 million to SA, says fiscal structures...

UK donates R50 million to SA, says fiscal structures are ‘robust’

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The United Kingdom (UK) has contributed more than £2 million (approximately R50 million) to the Solidarity Fund, and seemingly isn’t fazed by the extent of corruption that has emerged in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic.

The UK has made the donation, as a form of support towards South Africa’s efforts in countering the spread of COVID-19 and navigating its economic consequences.

The Department of International Relations and Cooperation’s Deputy Minister Alvin Botes and his counterpart in Trade and Industry, Nomalungelo Gina took part in a signing ceremony marking the UK’s contribution on Monday, September 14, 2020.

British High Commissioner: Two areas of importance for the UK

The British High Commissioner Nigel Casey has lauded the Fund as a unique vehicle and a collaboration between the public and private sector towards the fight against the global pandemic.

“We looked hard at what else we could do…we looked at how our financial support could reach the places that really need it here where robust government structures are in place to ensure transparency and accountability (on) the way funds are spent,” Casey said.

The Special Investigating Unit (SIU) is probing as many as 600 companies over R5 billion in contracts awarded for the provision of personal protective equipment (PPE), amid the battle of the coronavirus.

A number of high-profile members of the African National Congress (ANC) have been implicated in dodgy state contracts, including the party’s secretary-general Ace Magashule and the husband of Presidency spokesperson Khusela Diko.

The British High Commission to SA has highlighted the country’s response to gender-based violence, supporting the economic empowerment of women and small-medium enterprises – as the key areas it would like the funds to be allocated towards.

Casey said they had identified two projects where UK support could add value to its existing work.

“We’re delighted to be able to partner with South Africa in this way and all this is part of the UK’s COVID-19 response, which in total adds up to £740 million,” he added.

Botes: Relations with the UK ‘a strategic significance’ in foreign policy agenda

Botes said the pandemic has emphasised the need for increased international cooperation and an enhanced multilateral approach to solve the world’s biggest problems.

“South Africa’s bilateral relationship with the United Kingdom is such a strategic significance in our foreign policy agenda…,” he said.

The trade and industry department said these are areas that the UK has always been keen to support and which are important aspects of their COVID19 response and recovery plans.

“As such, the funding will be deployed to support two existing Humanitarian Pillar projects, namely the second intervention in Gender-Based Violence support and Farming Input Vouchers, with each project receiving R25m,” the department further said.

The Fund was established back in March by President Cyril Ramaphosa to aid the country in its battle against the coronavirus. It has so far received R3 billion from over 300 000 donors – individuals and enterprises.

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