Health Minister Dr Zweli Mkhize on Thursday received, on behalf of the National Department of Health, a significant donation of vital personal protective equipment to aid frontline healthcare workers in their fight against COVID-19.

The donations were made by Ithuba Holdings, the Bank of China, Mara Smartphones and Engen.

Speaking at the handover at Ithuba Holdings in Sandton, Mkhize encouraged other private companies to donate to South Africa’s battle against COVID-19.

Ithuba Holdings donated 100,000 cloth face masks to the Department of Health and the South African Police Service. The Bank of China donated 100,000 medical grade masks, 600 protective apparel units and five ventilators.

Petroleum company, Engen, has donated more than R5m towards personal protective equipment like masks, sanitizers and face protectors. Mara Smartphones donated 500 smartphones to help in government’s tracking and tracing efforts.

“We want to encourage others to come on board to give us support on a continuous basis…If you deal with the masks (medical masks) in the context of a hospital, we dispose this as a medical waste material and therefore we have to dispose it in a certain way,” the Health minister said.

“We encourage people to use cloth masks because they don’t have to be disposed off immediately…We would like our members, when they get into taxis and when they are on the routes between home and work, to use these cloth masks and when they arrive at work they can use the medical grade masks.”

Mkhize commended South Africans for their ingenuity in making the effort to wear cloth face masks.

“We have seen now a lot of creativity where people have gone out to make masks in a fashion. It is really a natural thing. If anyone had said in January that by the end of April we would all be wearing masks and sitting far apart from each other, we would not have imagined it,” he said.


  • 100,000 Medical Masks
  • 600 Medical Disposable Protective Apparel
  • 5 Ventilators.


  • R5.3   Million towards  PPE, Sanitisers, Masks & Shields for Employee
  • R2M – Provision of PPE to learners in rural areas, Engen fence line communities, frontline officials, and various Engen collaborative partners

Further to the 500-smartphone donation to the Department of Health of South Africa, Mara Phones will run a campaign to encourage other businesses and individuals to pledge and donate smartphones to the department