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Sanlam mask donation bolsters Unisa’s anti-Covid-19 campaign

In a donation sourced and secured by the Unisa Foundation, financial services giant Sanlam continued its long-standing partnership with the university by donating 1 500 co-branded masks on 20 August 2020.

Unisa received 1 500 co-branded face masks from Sanlam

Thanking Sanlam, Unisa Principal and Vice-Chancellor (VC), Professor Mandla Makhanya said that it was a rare occasion of people being together during the pandemic. ‘We are finding ourselves in a pleasant space as a partnership which brings a pleasant change to what we have been accustomed to,’ he said. ‘Even though South Africa seems to be coming closer to normality, the fundamentals of handwashing, social distancing and the wearing of masks remain.

The VC said that as Unisa staff members return to their offices, their safety would have to be ensured. ‘This donation is an exciting opportunity presented to us to ensure that we protect our staff and that their families are also safe.’

A time-honoured partnership

Commenting on the long-standing partnership between the two entities, the VC said that the gesture continues a proud tradition, which includes Sanlam’s sponsorship of the university’s ‘Shaping futures’ golf challenges and the prestigious Chancellor’s Calabash Awards Dinner.

‘The involvement of the private sector in university operations remains imperative,’ said the VC. ‘Universities such as Unisa, which enrols close to 400 000 students each year, would be worse off than we currently are without these partnerships. The strikingly designed masks reflect our common commitment in the wellbeing of our staff and students. It is a relationship which is clearly understood from both sides. I can assure you that the masks will be put to good use.’ 

(Front left) Prof. Mandla Makhanya, Unisa Principal and Vice-Chancellor (Front right) Gert Bezuidenhout, Sanlam Regional Executive, SFA Distribution (Back row) David Farirai, Director at Unisa’s Department of Institutional Advancement, Dinash Pillay, Business Development Manager, Sanlam Glacier and Madi Carstens, Manager: Umbrella Trust and Beneficiary Fund Department

Sanlam committed to doing even more

Tendani Matshisevhe, Head: Public Sector, Trade Unions and Key Accounts at Sanlam, said that Unisa had been very transparent about its requirements. The issue of protecting staff at this time of Covid-19 came up in discussions with the Unisa Foundation.

‘Sanlam has so far invested R3.4 billion to fight the pandemic in South Africa,’ said Matshisevhe. ‘This is despite the fact that Sanlam is currently not making money as the battle with Covid-19 has severely affected everyone. Our future perspective is the protection of lives, and livelihoods as well as the economy. Sanlam is committed to working for the greater growth of our society. Unisa is close to our hearts and our support to you means we are closer to the community.’

New priorities in unusual times

Gert Bezuidenhout, Sanlam’s Regional Executive, SFA Distribution, shared how Sanlam’s Distribution is working closely with people. ‘We hear real stories of people every day and what we are dealing with, in terms of health, job losses and livelihoods, is really challenging,’ he said. ‘I believe a lot of good will come out of the pandemic even though the way business is done has changed. Our main priority, though, is to secure people. We do this with very good advice as we must be there to help build dreams and lives of people again. We are here to bring new hope again.

According to Bezuidenhout, during this recovery period Sanlam will see good growth. ‘I  wish for Unisa to also experience prosperity and growth, he said. ‘We are here as a partner to help carry the burden.’

* By Busisiwe Mahlangu, Communication Coordinator, Department of Institutional Advancement

Publish date: 2020/08/24