South Africa is counting the hours to the start of the 21-day National Lockdown to reduce the spread of the deadly COVID-19 virus.
For many workers, it’ll be a time filled with uncertainty and fear as businesses from mines, factories and shopping malls are going to shut down. Coal mines will, however, operate because they have to supply Eskom.
Workers in their millions are required to stay at home for three weeks in line with a Presidential decree to fight the spread of the coronavirus in the country.
Now, on the eve of the country lockdown, the Department of Employment and Labour has cautioned employers not to make their employees pay for the national sacrifice with their leave benefits.
Employment and Labour Minister Thulas Nxesi explains, “Employers who can’t afford to pay their employees during the shutdown need not worry. The government stands ready to step in. Funds have been set aside to pay affected workers a minimum of R3 500 a month, which is the National Minimum Wage, and a maximum of R17 500.
Again, employers are being warned that enforcing the No Work No Pay rule during the country lockdown is prohibited,” says Nxesi.
The South African Federation of Trade Unions and COSATU says workers should not panic.
In this video below Minister Nxesi addresses the media:
Graph: Economic measures during lockdown:
The SABC ready to keep the public informed:
The South African Broadcasting Corporation (SABC) has announced some stringent measures it has in place to ensure that the corporation continues to serve the public by keeping the nation informed during the national shutdown announced by President Cyril Ramaphosa.
As part of the ongoing efforts to mitigate the effects of the COVID-19 outbreak, the public service broadcaster has developed comprehensive business continuity and disaster recovery plans for this period. These plans are aimed at safeguarding SABC employees and ensuring that the corporation continues to provide an essential service of broadcasting to the millions of South Africans who rely solely on the SABC for information, education, and entertainment.
Given the essential service that the SABC provides, staff performing critical business continuity services during this lockdown period will be required to be onsite at respective SABC offices.
Some staff members performing critical business continuity services will be allowed to perform these work functions remotely. All other staff will be released from work during this period, these include staff members whose work primarily depends on meeting with the public, particularly conducting tours and dealing with public inquiries regarding SABC services.
In ensuring broadcast capability outside of the SABC’s headquarters, a Disaster Recovery (DR) site has been established. This site is capacitated with numerous Outside Broadcast vehicles which will cater for television and radio broadcasts.
Furthermore, two studios at Auckland Park have been reserved for utilisation by the Department of Education, for educational programming during this period.
Graphic: Lockdown measures: