The donation follows a commitment made by Sappi Southern Africa in April last year, when South Africa had just entered into the reality of surviving in a COVID-19 disrupted world, and Sappi Southern Africa had begun with the distribution of much-needed scarce items such as hand sanitiser, face masks and nutritional porridge, to clinics, creches and NGOs.
Receiving the donation of 3,000 boxes of Typek paper, as well as 3,000 litres of hand sanitiser and 5,000 masks, Dr Nzama commented: “The private sector continues to play a crucial role in supporting government in the fight against COVID-19 and we remain committed to working in collaboration with our partners to scale up our response to the pandemic, which forced us to close schools for the better part of the 2020 academic year. On behalf of the Department of Education we are extremely grateful to Sappi for this generous contribution. We would appreciate it if more companies would be like Sappi and play a meaningful role in the education system in KwaZulu-Natal”.
Realising that the country and the national government administration was going to be facing unprecedented pressure due to the pandemic and the resultant economic downturn, this contribution by Sappi of its office paper product is intended to provide relief in one of the hardest hit, and most crucial sectors of our country.
“As the Education Department had to cope with so many challenges during this last year, having to arrange for online schooling, implementing new procedures at schools, ensuring the safety of learners and personnel, whilst still trying to ensure that learning was going ahead, one of the areas where we could assist was to make our product available”, commented Duane Roothman, Vice President Sappi Forests, who did the handover on behalf of Sappi.
Besides the paper donation, which was delayed until this year when schools reopened, Sappi has also provided the hand sanitiser and cloth masks, to supplement the supplies which the Department need to keep schools safe for learners and teachers.
“A contribution of this nature is also in line with Sappi’s philosophy of ABCD – Asset Based Community Development – where the company uses one of its assets, in this instance its product; to enable chosen stakeholders to further reach their goals. It also accentuates the fact that Sappi is a committed and caring anchor tenant in its rural-based communities, where it promotes the forestry value chain by securing about 10, 000 rurally based jobs and through enterprise and skills development programmes which provides livelihoods for thousands more”, said Duane.
Due to its network of forestry offices spread throughout the province, Sappi is able to assist with the distribution of these items to remote rural schools that are situated adjacent to its plantations and mills, in addition to the Department undertaking its own distribution to selected schools.