By Staff Reporter
Volkswagen South Africa has taken one of the boldest moves by a corporate in Mzansi in the fight against Covid-19. In partnership with the German Government, VWSA will be converting an used factory into a medical facility that could accommodate up to 4,000 patients diagnosed with the Covid-19 virus. This would also include high-acuity patients who require oxygenation.
Federal Government of Germany
The German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development will provide funding of 5.2 million Euros (R107 million) to support the conversion of the plant in Neave (Korsten, Port Elizabeth) as well as the procurement of protective gear (PPE) for staff at regional tertiary hospitals, regional Primary Care Clinics and 49 Covid-19 test centres.
VWSA will contribute R28 million to the project. Additionally, VWSA will provide project management for the conversion of the facility and management of the procurement of the critical PPE.
Following the signing of the agreement between the parties, the facility is to be completed in phases and handed over to government as the need for medical care in the Metro develops. The preparation of the first phase is currently ongoing and will take approximately six to eight weeks to be completed.
This commitment is VWSA’s latest move in the fight against the global Covid-19 crisis. The company has also been working on the manufacture of ventilators, respirators and masks in partnership with other local businesses, and has offered ongoing support to the Business Chamber and the Municipality in their coordinated efforts to bolster medical care in Nelson Mandela Bay Metro.
“Solidarity is crucial in a crisis – and Covid-19 is an unprecedented global threat,” said Thomas Schaefer, Chairman and Managing Director: VWSA. “Through collaboration we will be able to achieve the position of strength we will need to fight the Covid-19 virus.
A government operation
The 66,000m² building will be made available to government until March 2021, with the Department of Health and the NMBM responsible for the management and daily operations of the facility.
Other parties that have made the project possible are the Nelson Mandela Bay Business Chamber who have been instrumental in facilitating the project and garnering further support from its membership base, and Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ) GmbH who will provide the performance framework to account for the public and private engagement and will foster the cooperation with the private sector to establish a sustainable strategic alliance in Nelson Mandela Bay.
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