The #CEOSleepOut2016 has been described as a “major success” with million of rands raised for educational causes and hundreds of homeless people getting assistance.
Several high-profile South Africans have also dismissed criticism of the event saying it is a “Ubuntu in Action.”
Chief Ambassador of the Sun International #CEOSleepOut2016, Yusuf Abramjee, said almost 1000 people gathered on the Nelson Mandela Bridge in Johannesburg on Thursday evening. 200 of them were CEO’s. They were joined by students.
“Pledges are in excess of R25million. Gift of the Givers and Operation Snowball distributed clothing and blankets to hundreds of homeless people yesterday – thanks to the Sun International #CEOSleepOut2016,” Abramjee said.
“There has been some criticism about the event on social media. People are entitled to their opinions but the reality is that the Sun International #CEOSleepOut2016 is making a real difference,” he added.
Abramjee said that there has been “an overwhelming positive response to the Sun International #CEOSleepOut2016 philanthropic movement and it again shows we are a caring and giving nation. We are seeing Ubuntu in Action.”
Public Protector, Advocate Thuli Madonsela, who is also an Ambassdor for the #CEOSleepOut2016 said on Twitter: “We should pity those who do and say nothing to improve lives and only find energy criticize the inadequacies of those making a difference.”
Gauteng Premier, David Makhura, and Johannesburg Mayor, Parks Tau, who also took part in the Sleepout said the criticism was unfounded.
“We will continue to support and grow the CEO SleepOut and the business sector is assisting to help those in need. We will continue working with them,” Makhura said. Last year, he also joined CEO’s for the night.
Businessman Tokyo Sexwale said: “There are three types of people – those who do nothing, those who criticize, and those who take action.”
Sexwale made a surprise visit to the #CEOSleepout2016 to pledge his support and offered to host the event on Robben Island in 2017 on Mandela Day, 18 July.
Finance Minister, Pravin Gordhan, called on the CEO’s to continue making a difference and said municipalities should all also support the event in 2017.
Over 60 schools, 10 universities and colleges and 40 companies took part in School, Student and Sympathy Sleepouts this year. Last night, hundreds of people gathered in Laudium, Pretoria, for a Sleepout to raise awareness and assist charities.
Gauteng Education MEC, Panyaza Lesufi, who visited some School Sleepouts with Premier Makhura said “he was touched by the effort put in. Next year, we are going to grow the School SleepOuts. It is heartwarming to see our young people and educators doing good work.”
Abramjee said: “We salute the thousands of people who have come out to support the Sun International #CEOSleepOut2016 and we will continue to assist where we can.”
Ali Gregg, CEO of the Sun International CEO SleepOut said plans were underway to grow the event and also take it to other parts of the continent.
Other Sun International #CEOSleepOut2016 ambassadors are Carolyn Steyn from 67 Blankets, media personalities Leanne Manas and Ashraf Garda, Singer Yvonne Chaka Chaka, Editor of the Star, Kevin Ritchie, Australia’s High Commissioner to South Africa Adam McCarthy. 11 school and student leaders are ambassadors.
Next week, Brand SA’s a “Play Your Part” movement will distribute hundreds of books to schools. They were collected on the bridge.
Sun International has announced they will again sponsor the CEO Sleepout next year.
Darren Olivier of the CEO Sleepout Trust has thanked media houses (including Jacaranda – CEO SleepOut, Cliff Central – Sympathy SleepOut and The Star and Caxton – School SleepOut official partners) and companies for the support. “We could not have done it without you.”
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