In honour of their contribution to the fight against the Covid-19 pandemic, Volkswagen Group South Africa (VWSA) was among the category winners recognised in 2020 The Herald Citizen of the Year Awards. This year, these annual awards focused on honouring businesses, organisations and individuals who went above the call of duty in offering relief in the pandemic.
During the virtual awards ceremony, held on Friday 18 September, VWSA was announced as the joint winner in the Business category of the awards.
The award serves as recognition of VWSA’s extensive efforts to support local, provincial and national government in their efforts to minimise the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic in Nelson Mandela Bay. These efforts included the conversion of the company’s former Port Elizabeth plant in Neave into the Rev. Dr Elizabeth Mamisa Chabula-Nxiweni field hospital for Covid-19 patients, with the first phase of 1 485 beds handed over to the Eastern Cape Department of Health in June.
This project was the result of collaboration between VWSA, the Department, the Nelson Mandela Bay Municipality and the Nelson Mandela Bay Business Chamber, with funding of 5.2 million Euros (R100 million) from the German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ) and a performance framework for the project by the Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ) GmbH.
Of the R100 million funding, VWSA used R10 million to procure personal protective equipment (PPE) for frontline health workers at hospitals and Covid-19 test centres across the metro. Another R4 million was allocated to the crucial task of improving Covid-19 testing capacity in the Bay. VWSA performed extensive renovations at the National Health Laboratory Service (NHLS) branch in Port Elizabeth and advised on process improvements, thereby equipping the laboratory to double its daily testing capacity.
“As VWSA we are humbled to receive this accolade in recognition of our contributions to the fight against Covid-19,” said Andile Dlamini, VWSA’s Head of Group Communications. “We were honoured to be in a position to assist when our Metro faced the challenge of preparing for the pandemic.
“However, this work to protect our communities would not have been possible without collaboration. We are grateful to the Nelson Mandela Bay Business Chamber for uniting businesses in the region so that we could work with each other, as well as local, provincial and national government, and combine our efforts to save lives.”