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Naspers delivers protective gear for front-line healthcare workers

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Naspers’s first batch of PPE supplies arrived from China on Monday.
Naspers’s first batch of PPE supplies arrived from China on Monday.

Global Internet giant Naspers has made good on its commitment to support the South African government’s response to the COVID-19 crisis, delivering its first shipment of critical personal protective equipment (PPE).

As the COVID-19 outbreak continues to worsen in many parts of the world, local and global tech firms have stepped up their efforts to help governments and businesses affected by this pandemic.

The coronavirus has claimed the lives of over 170 000, with the infection rate at more than 2.4 million and recoveries over 656 000, at the time of publication. South Africa has recorded 3 300 COVID-19 cases, 1 055 recoveries and 58 deaths, to date.

Naspers has committed R1.5 billion in emergency aid to the country, with R500 million contributed to the Solidarity Response Fund and R1 billion to procure PPEs and other medical supplies.

South Africa, like many other African countries, suffers from a shortage of essential COVID-19 medical supplies, including PPEs that are required to protect front-line healthcare workers.

In a statement, Naspers says the first PPE shipment consisted of 275 600 KN95 masks and 100 000 face shields, and arrived at OR Tambo International Airport on yesterday.

“The collaboration and joint action between governments, business and civil society has been excellent. We hope our first shipment, which is one of many to come, will support the many selfless healthcare workers in our country,” says Naspers SA CEO Phuthi Mahanyele-Dabengwa.

The critical PPE, secured through Naspers’s partnerships with Tencent and the Chinese government, is the first of multiple shipments, with the next shipments expected to arrive in the next week, says the company.

Naspers purchased 46.5% of Chinese Internet company Tencent from early investors, including PCCW and IDG Capital Partners (then a start-up), in 2001.

Bob van Dijk, Naspers group CEO, comments: “We are grateful to all those that have made this delivery a reality, especially the South African government and our Chinese partners for their continuous support throughout the process.”

Naspers-owned local online retailer Takealot will use its warehousing and distribution capability to ensure these critical medical supplies reach hospitals, front-line workers and those in need, as quickly as possible, says CEO Kim Reid.

“We are humbled and privileged to be part of this important collaborative effort to help our fellow South Africans.”

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