Pretoria – Ekurhuleni mayor Mzwandile Masina has announced that over the next three months he will be donating 33% of his monthly salary to the country’s Solidarity Fund established by the government to support initiatives aimed at fighting the coronavirus (Covid-19) pandemic.
Masina’s announcement followed a televised national address on Thursday night by President Cyril Ramaphosa, who extended the nationwide lockdown by two weeks and announced that his Cabinet as well as the country’s provincial premiers would take a 30% salary cut for the next three months, with the resultant savings to the public purse going to the national Solidarity Fund.
“We must all heed the call made by President Ramaphosa for us to rise to the occasion and live up to this national ‘Thuma Mina’ moment. Every effort and gesture we can make as citizens will go far in assisting efforts to flatten the curve,” said Masina.
“We welcome the 14-day nationwide extension (of the lockdown). Indeed, now is not the time to relax. Our struggle against this invisible enemy must be intensified. The City of Ekurhuleni will continue to work in collaboration with both the provincial and national spheres of government in combating the Covid-19 pandemic.”
In addition to Masina’s pledge, the City of Ekurhuleni announced that senior officials will also be contributing percentages of their salaries to the Solidarity Fund.
Like the mayor, the city manager Imogen Mashazi and the group chief financial officer Kagiso Lerutla will donate 33% of their monthly salaries to the fund, while members of the mayoral committee will contribute 25%.
The Ekurhuleni speaker of council Patricia Kumalo will donate 20% while the chief whip Jongizizwe Dlabathi will donate 15% over the next three months.
The City of Ekurhuleni said discussions are under way for heads of departments to donate 25% over the next the three months too.
Announcing the extension of the lockdown on Thursday night, Ramaphosa warned that ending it too soon would see the disease “consume” the country.
The lockdown, which was initially set to end at midnight on April 16, will now continue until the end of the month.
The president gave the latest tally of infections as 1,934 and said the gains in slowing the infection rate would rapidly be lost if the lockdown was ended too soon or abruptly.
“If we end the lockdown too soon or too abruptly, we risk a massive and uncontrollable resurgence of the disease … rendering meaningless the great sacrifices we have all made.
“We are only at the beginning of a monumental struggle that demands our every resource and every effort,” he said.
After thanking companies for philanthropic gestures, he announced the salary cut that he, his Cabinet and the provincial premiers would be taking and urged other senior office bearers and captains of commerce to follow suit and donate a third of their pay to the fund.
Ramaphosa ended his address by calling on all South Africans to reach out to those who were alone and destitute during the lockdown.
“I ask that you give what you can to alleviate their burden,” he said.
African News Agency/ANA
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** If you think you have been exposed to the Covid-19 virus, please call the government’s 24-hour hotline on 0800 029 999 or go to SA Coronavirus for more information.
By Jonisayi Maromo