The Solidarity Fund raises money to help South Africa cope with the Covid-19 outbreak. President Cyril Ramaphosa announced the fund on 23 March 2020, saying it would “focus efforts to combat the spread of the virus, help us to track the spread, care for those who are ill and support those whose lives are disrupted”.
Till point donations
Checkers is one of the Shoprite Group’s stable of retail stores in 15 African countries. On 30 March, Shoprite announced that it would make an initial donation of R1 million to the Solidarity Fund. This would then be supplemented with customer donations collected through the company’s existing Act For Change till point donation facility.
“Customers are welcome to add a contribution to their purchases at the till points in any Shoprite or Checkers supermarket nationwide,” the company said in its statement.
By 6 May, Shoprite had collected R1 million from customers. The company said it would match this with another R1 million donation to the Solidarity Fund.
The Solidarity Fund reports that by 25 May, R2 million of the total R2.53 billion it has received is from the Shoprite Group.
But are Checkers supermarkets adding R5 donations to customers’ bills without their consent?
Stealing from the public?
The social media posts claim, as one Facebook user put it: “Weereens steel Checkers van die publiek. R5 by elkeen vir Solidarity Fund.” That’s Afrikaans for: “Checkers steals from the public again. R5 from everyone for the Solidarity Fund.”
A R5 Solidarity Fund donation is highlighted on the till slips posted. But only two examples of Checkers slips are circulating on social media. One is from a store in Raslouw, Pretoria, and the other from a Kloof Street Checkers in Cape Town.
Checkers has responded to both cases, saying that Solidarity Fund donations are optional and should only be added to customers’ purchases on request.
The Shoprite Group told SABC News: “If our cashiers accidentally or incorrectly use the Act for Change button and money was allocated to this account, we will immediately refund the customer.” It also said that the Kloof Street charge “was a mistake which has been corrected with the store concerned”.
Checkers South Africa said on Twitter that the Raslouw charge was also a mistake.
“We are aware of this image being shared on social media and can confirm we won’t add a donation to a transaction unless our customer asks us to do so,” it tweeted.
“It was a mistake and we have reached out to the customer involved so we may assist in resolving this.” – Keegan Leech
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