Business for South Africa’s collaborative effort to build capability and drive a coordinated, proactive approach to limit the economic, labour market and health impacts of COVID-19 on South Africa is moving ahead rapidly.
The significant resources within Business for South Africa are being provided on a pro bono basis by various institutions, including Business Unity South Africa (BUSA) and its member organisations; the Black Business Council; and a range of consulting firms, companies and business associations.
STATEMENT OF LOCKDOWN REGULATIONS
On 25 March 2020, Minister Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma promulgated regulations for implementing a nationwide “lockdown” effective from midnight on 26 March (the “Regulations”). The Regulations have since been amended to provide some clarity on the limits on business operations and add to the list of designated essential products and services. The effect of the Regulations, as amended, is a general closure of all businesses and a mandatory order that “[a]ll businesses and other entities shall cease operations”, other than those providing essential goods or services, subject to the right to continue operating remotely through electronic means. This should be read with the closure of retail shops and shopping malls (again, subject to the provision of essential goods and services), and the general restriction confining “every person to his or her place of residence”. While we all face challenging times, we must take as our starting point that businesses should do everything in their power to abide by these general rules to assist with flattening the curve of COVID-19.
FOR MORE INFORMATION – SEE THE LOCKDOWN REGULATIONS
PLEASE UPDATE YOUR BUSINESS WEBSITES
As of Thursday, every website with a domain name that ends in .za – including every company website that uses the .co.za suffix, every organisation in .org.za, and every academic institution in .ac.za – must link to the South African government’s Covid-19 portal at sacoronavirus.co.za.
SOLIDARITY FUND: UNITING SOUTH AFRICA AGAINST COVID-19
The Solidarity Fund announced by President Ramaphosa this week is mobilising the support from business and civil society in support of government’s efforts in response to COVID-19. The Chairperson of the Fund is Ms Gloria Serobe and the Vice Chairperson is Mr Adrian Enthoven. The fund will be independently administered and transparently governed through an independent board to ensure that the funds are effectively and efficiently used to combat COVID-19.
Business and citizens have already begun responding generously to the call for donations but much more is needed. Should you wish to make a contribution from your business or in your personal capacity, please find the contact details below:
- Website: www.solidarityfund.co.za
- For any general information on the Solidarity Fund: firstname.lastname@example.org
- For members of the public or if you are acting in your personal capacity: email@example.com
The NICD is responsible for development and maintenance of guidelines around laboratory testing for COVID-19. Please note that these will be revised in response to the progress of the pandemic in South Africa. We will continue to provide you with updates in this regard. Updates will be based on official NICD and NDOH updates.
At this time, ONLY those displaying symptoms will be tested.
Note to employers in Critical & Essential services companies:
We have been made aware that some employers are requesting that their staff are tested before coming to work. Please note that this is not required if your employee is not displaying symptoms associated with COVID-19. This approach is also wasteful of scarce resources, and it does not provide assurance, since the employee may become infected at some point after the test is done.
Ongoing engagement and cooperation between National Department of Health, NICD, the dti, multilateral agencies and the private sector continues and has resulted in the following:
- Progress on the development of a common database providing visibility of resources across private and public sectors
- Structuring of a deal with respect to PPE requirements, synched to sponsorships and donations
- Developing capability on procurement logistics and supply chain
- Developing coordination between healthcare requests and the Solidarity Fund
- Establishment of alternative COVID-19 isolation facilities in hotels
- Geomapping of available ICU facilities is proceeding well.
FOR MORE INFORMATION SEE TESTING PROTOCOLS
The Minister of Employment and Labour has announced that measures will put in place to contain the spread of COVID-19 and its impact on UIF contributors. The Unemployment Insurance Fund will compensate affected workers through its existing Illness and Reduced Work Time benefits.
The guide is applicable to all employers who are registered with UIF and make monthly contributions as required by the Contributions Act of 2002. To access the guide, click the link below:
COSATU is resisting the idea of employers compelling employees to take leave: https://www.politicsweb.co.za/politics/employers-are-not-allowed-to-compel-workers-to-tak
Additional guidelines about the process will be released by the Department.
Repayment holiday for black entrepreneurs
In partnership with the Department of Trade, Industry and Competition (the dtic) the National Empowerment Fund (NEF) will facilitate R200m funding for black entrepreneurs to manufacture and supply a range of medical products. Once disbursed black entrepreneurs will be accorded a 12-month repayment holiday to help their businesses stabilise. This is in line with the NEF’s mandate as a development financier to champion inclusive growth while responding innovatively to the challenges facing the country,” explains NEF CEO Ms Philisiwe Mthethwa.