In the wake of a call by President Cyril Ramaphosa for top business executives to take pay cuts in the fight against the coronavirus, FirstRand has announced that its key leadership will be donating 30% of their salaries over three months to a Covid-19 response fund.
This comes as the total number of confirmed coronavirus cases in South Africa increased to above 2000, with 24 deaths.
Ramaphosa made the call on Thursday evening when he announced that the nationwide lockdown to slow the spread of the virus would be extended by two weeks to the end of April.
The president said that his salary, together with those of the deputy president, ministers and deputy ministers, would be cut by a third for the next three months, with the proceeds donated to the Solidarity Fund. “We are calling on other public office bearers and executives of large companies to make a similar gesture and to further increase the reach of this national effort,” he said.
A number of institutions and individuals have already followed suit, including the EFF and Ekurhuleni mayor Mzwandile Masina, among others.
On Saturday FirstRand CEO, Alan Pullinger, said in a statement that the financial services holding company wanted to demonstrate unity with Ramaphosa’s pledge.
The chief executive officers, chief operating officers, and chief financial officers of FirstRand, FNB, RMB and WesBank will forego 30% of their salaries for three months.
“The president’s request is meaningful, and we believe he is right to ask business leadership to step up and make the same sacrifice, particularly given what is at stake for our country,” said Pullinger.
FirstRand said the proceeds would be donated to the group’s SPIRE fund, which is focusing on sourcing coronavirus test kits, protective clothing and ventilators to boost the country’s critical care capacity.
According to FirstRand, the fund works closely with the Solidarity Fund.