16 April 2020

While great uncertainty remains about the tough times ahead, the opportunity for business to band together and assist those at the forefront of the fight against the pandemic and malnutrition is equally significant. One such partnership comes from Tongaat Hulett, NCP Alcohols, Spring Lights Gas (SLG), Nampak Rigid Plastics and Southern Lodestar Foundation in creating a functional project to be implemented in KwaZulu-Natal (KZN) – “Committed to Community: Health Partners during COVID-19”.

The aim of the project is to donate 250 000 litres of hand sanitiser to all provincial hospitals and clinics throughout KZN with the assistance of the Department of Health. It will also ensure that 60 000kg of instant porridge is distributed in areas with children in desperate need for support. The Department of Education feeds 2.4 million learners under the school feeding programme and 1.3 million have been defined as vulnerable. The closure of schools because of COVID-19 has increased the vulnerability of children from food insecure households facing severe economic hardships.

Tongaat Hulett has four sugar mills in KZN and works extensively with farmers in the province, many of whom are small-scale and land reform growers. Tongaat Hulett will supply the molasses for the manufacturing of the sanitiser and make use of its milling facilities to distribute the sanitiser to clinics and hospitals. The supply of molasses towards the project will go a long way in assisting the production of the much needed sanitisers.

“Our top priority as Tongaat Hulett is the health and safety of all our stakeholders. As a company, we have put measures in place to limit the effect of Covid-19 on our employees and stakeholders in all six countries where we operate. We have also put in place sound business systems to ensure that business continues during the lockdown period” said Simon Harvey, MD: Tongaat Hulett Sugar Operations.

The COVID-19 pandemic has thrown the world in turmoil on a scale never seen before. Here in South Africa, the country has entered a 21-day national lockdown to flatten the curve of infection and stop the spread of the virus.

NCP Alcohols produces fermented alcohol to various industries, including pharmaceutical markets, and will contribute to the production of the alcohol, blending of the sanitiser and drumming as part of the joint effort.

SLG supplies gas nationally with most of its customers situated in KZN, providing environmentally clean and cost-effective energy and tailored technical service to this project. The energy used to produce the alcohol in the sanitizer will be supplied by SLG.

Nampak Rigid Plastics is the largest diversified packaging manufacturer in the region and are contributing the drums into which the sanitizer will be packed. The company invests significant time and resources into the development of sustainable products and also provides general support to communities located near its facilities.

Southern Lodestar Foundation assists with nutritional intervention amongst the most vulnerable communities in South Africa and neighbouring countries. The Foundation has partnered with Millhouse International to develop a highly nutritious instant porridge – high in protein, vitamins and minerals.

The rollout of the” Committed to Community: Health Partners during COVID-19” project will take place with the cooperation of the Department of Health in KZN. “COVID-19 has brought to focus the importance of public private partnerships in addressing societal challenges in the province,” said Dr Sandile Tshabalala, Head of Department within the Department of Health. “The sanitizer will slow the spread of the virus and the instant porridge will be allocated to children and vulnerable households. As a Department, we welcome these significant contributions, and continue to encourage all our social partners to join hands with us in fighting the pandemic.”