March 2020 - February 2021



South Africa, like the rest of the world, faced an enemy like no other. One that would turn our world upside down and test us to our limits.

Because of this enemy, we had to stay apart. But, to overcome it, we would have to stand together.

Seeing the devastation the COVID-19 pandemic was wrecking in other countries, we knew we had to act, and act fast – as one – to lessen the deadly impact this disease would bring.

And so, we came together. From all walks of life – those with plenty and those with very little – we came together. Through the Solidarity Fund, we opened our hearts and our wallets. We gave of our money, we gave of our time, and we gave of our knowledge, expertise and experience.

And together we are making a difference. We are helping those who need it most. We are helping to save lives and to bring hope.

This is the story of how, together, we are meeting the challenges the pandemic throws at us and are standing together in our hour of need.

This is your story.


The Solidarity Fund was set up with unprecedented speed and agility.

Tabled by business and government on March 16, 2020, within the first week the basic structure, focus areas and governance principles of the Fund were defined; registration as a public benefit organisation began; a brand design and website were created; a bank account opened; and the Board Chair and Deputy Chair identified. The first board meeting took place on April 9, with the first procurements of much needed personal protection equipment (PPE) taking place in early April.

The Fund continues to operate with this speed and agility, raising and disbursing significant resources where it can have the greatest impact on the pandemic response.


Thanks to your overwhelming generosity, the Fund has mobilised a staggering amount of funding in just a few months, receiving R3 billion by 24 July 2020.

Thank you!

Donations Received


Beyond financial donations, the Solidarity Fund also benefits from tremendous support to help the organisation fulfil its mandate and implement its day-to-day work.

All those working for the Fund are volunteers or seconded on a pro bono basis from over 100 well- respected companies. In addition, all legal, IT, accounting, communications, fund management, and many other services are provided pro bono.

The Fund does not pay any salaries and has not incurred any core expenses, enabling it to direct the full amounts donated to creating impact.

Donations Received

Types of expertise and capacity donated to the Fund


The Fund is organised around three focus areas chosen for their potential to reach the areas of highest need and have the greatest impact.

The health response focuses on strengthening the health system to cope with the surge in demand from the pandemic, and protecting those at the frontline of the response.

The humanitarian response focuses on protecting vulnerable South Africans at increased risk of hunger and gender-based violence because of the lockdown and pandemic response measures.

The communications effort focuses on promoting positive behaviours to help slow the spread of the virus and stay safe.

Donations Received


The Solidarity Fund is deeply committed to ensuring it protects and uses the generous donations it receives in the most effective and impactful way possible.

It was established to be completely independent while working closely with government, the private sector and civil society to implement its programmes.

The Board and the Executive Committee are committed to ensuring that the Fund operates with agility, integrity and transparency, ensuring:

  • all donations are screened, recognised, accounted for and effectively managed;
  • disbursements are aligned with the Fund’s mandate; and
  • its impact is measured and reported.

The Solidarity Fund does not implement projects directly itself. All our projects are implemented through various trusted partners, vetted and transparently contracted by the Fund.

The Fund’s governance framework articulates the comprehensive set of decision-making, approval and oversight arrangements the Fund employs to discharge its mandate.

Donations Received


25 March 2020 - 28 February 2021

This summarised financial statement is extracted from the audited financial statements but is not itself audited. The annual financial statements were audited by PricewaterhouseCoopers Inc, who expressed a modified opinion thereon. Access the full annual financial statements presentation here.


Strengthening the health sector to respond to the COVID-19 pandemic

Seeing what was happening across the world, we knew it was critical to support and reinforce South Africa’s health system to cope with the added pressure the pandemic would bring.

The health pillar works to rapidly complement and build on the government’s pandemic response. Using the best available evidence on the SARS-CoV-2 virus and its effects, and an understanding of the most critical needs of the health system, the health pillar focuses on five essential areas that will have the biggest impact on the pandemic:

Donations Received


Donations Received

"This equipment will remain relevant beyond the pandemic and have a long-term impact on the services we provide."

Letter of thanks from Nelson Mandela Academic Hospital

"The CSIR wall CPAP ventilators have had an enormous impact on our patient outcomes"

The COVID-19 team, Charlotte Maxeke Johannesburg Academic Hospital

"The building of the Modular hospital will ease the pressure on the high volume of patients, as well as create an efficient medical-service facility. We are extremely grateful to the stakeholders involved in this remarkable initiative"

Sicelo Msi, CEO of the Cecilia Makiwane Hospital

Improving access to food and protection for thousands of vulnerable households, women and children

With people unable to work under hard lockdown conditions, hunger became another devastating consequence of the pandemic. And having people stay at home, under immense anxiety, meant that those who were not safe at home were in even more danger.

The humanitarian pillar was designed as a rapid-response mechanism to address the needs of very vulnerable communities in a dignified manner to help alleviate the negative social impact of the pandemic. It aims to build on efforts by government and the private sector by focusing on two of the hardest hit areas:


Donations Received

"We are a family of five and all of us are unemployed; this food parcel will truly come in handy to us because of our dire situation we find ourselves in during the pandemic."

Food parcel beneficiary

"The PPE received is … very helpful to both the staff and the clients as they help to ensure that they protect themselves against COVID-19. Thank you for giving LifeLine Vaal Shelter the means to proudly service our communities in need."

NSMSA Shelter

Promoting behaviour change to soften the impact of the pandemic

The Solidarity Fund knew the benefits of its health and humanitarian support would be diluted without a targeted and consistent communications and behaviour change campaign that educates South Africans to come together and practice behaviours that will help to manage the pandemic.

The Fund therefore implemented two behaviour change communications campaigns to raise awareness and influence behaviours that encourage South Africans to practice social distancing, wash hands, wear masks, self-isolate when sick or symptomatic, and get vaccinated.

#Citizens in Solidarity campaign was a multi-pronged communications initiative using media, radio, billboards, taxis, loudhailers, websites, webinars, posters, leaflets, social media, and influential political, sporting and social personalities to spread the message to all corners of the country.

#UnityinAction campaign is an adaptation of the behaviour change campaign in line with the evolving pandemic that focuses on communications around key events. These included the December festive period, the January 2021 back-to-school period, Easter 2021, behavioural maintenance and the vaccine roll-out.


Donations Received

"The [Citizens in Solidarity] Campaign was clear and specific – the majority of those who were exposed knew what it was about. The content was clear and understandable"

Findings from the Ask Africa evaluation on the impact of the Fund’s behaviour change campaign


Many of our projects are now coming to an end, and we are ensuring they are closed out professionally, with full accountability and handover.

As the trajectory of the pandemic response now shifts towards vaccinating the country, we are putting the full weight of our resources and capabilities to support the government with this enormous but vital task.

Our support to the vaccine programme includes:

  • Supporting a COVID-19 hotline call centre, where the public can get information and support on the vaccine registration platform, and answer their questions and concerns on the vaccine itself. It will also have an option for healthcare workers and those supporting the vaccine programme to get information and support.
  • Supporting vaccine surge capacity or pop-up sites to support overflow from fixed vaccination sites, and ease pressure on health facilities.
  • Providing other rapid-response support for logistical and ancillary supplies as required to make the vaccine roll-out a success.
  • Running a national communications campaign encouraging the maintenance of prevention behaviours, spreading knowledge on the vaccine programme and encouraging uptake of vaccinations.

The Fund would like to thank all of you who have given your time, money, trust and solidarity behind the Fund and the invaluable role we are so proud to fulfil. We couldn’t have done it without you.

Thank you!

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