Michiel le Roux, one of the founding directors of the hugely successful Capitec Bank, has donated R100 million to efforts to fight the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic on South Africa.
Le Roux joins the ranks of other of the country’s wealthiest citizens such as Johann Rupert and the Oppenheimer family, who days before the lockdown was announced by President Cyril Ramaphosa, made major commitments to supporting small businesses cope with the devastating impact of the lockdown.
A Sens announcement issued by Capitec on Tuesday said that on April 11 Le Roux, who is one of the largest shareholders in Capitec, had donated 106 110 of his Capitec shares to the South African Future Trust, the Solidarity Response Fund and the South African SME Relief Trust.
“The proceeds of the disposals were ceded in anticipando to the three organisations, who are all responding to the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic on South Africa,” said the announcement.
The Capitec shares, which were trading at an all-time high of R1 500 a few months ago, have been hit, as have all the banks, by the widespread concerns around the devastating economic impact of the pandemic and consequent lockdown.
On Tuesday Capitec was trading at R881.50, up from the four-year low of R539.86 touched briefly in March.
Le Roux, who was Capitec’s CEO at the time it was listed at R2 in 2001, was appointed chairman of the bank in 2007, a position he held until 2017. He continues to serve on the board as a non-executive director.
The South African Future Trust, to which he is donating part of the proceeds, was launched by Nicky Oppenheimer in March. Oppenheimer’s R1 billion donation will be used by the trust to assist small businesses and their employees affected by the coronavirus pandemic. The trust is providing funds to small businesses to cover the employment costs of workers who are at risk of losing their jobs or a portion of their income.
Oppenheimer’s sister Mary and her daughters separately donated a further R1 billion to the Solidarity Fund, which was set up by Ramaphosa and members of the business community in March.
Le Roux is also contributing to the Solidarity Fund, which frequently works alongside government but is independent of government and relies on donations from individuals and companies. It focuses on the speedy acquisition of personal protective equipment, ventilators and testing equipment and is also involved in assisting government’s efforts to distribute food parcels to hundreds of thousands of families across the country.
Rupert’s R1 billion has been donated to Business Partners, which will also be using it to support small businesses and their employees.
Patrice Motsepe and related companies, primarily Sanlam, have committed to make R1 billion available for acquiring critical health equipment and other resources needed to deal with the pandemic.