The South African Revenue Service (SARS) says it is concerned that two more staff members have tested positive for COVID-19. This brings the Revenue Service’s total number of infections to seven since the pandemic was first reported in South Africa.
One of the COVID-19 positive employees is in the Free State, one in KwaZulu-Natal, another is in the North West and four are in the Western Cape.
“A colleague who had earlier recovered was also based in the Free State. A second employee is still in intensive care and remains on oxygen support. We continue to wish them all the best for a speedy recovery,” says SARS in a statement.
SARS Commissioner Edward Kieswetter has personally been in touch with the affected employees to support them.
The Commissioner says: “It is important that during these challenging times, none of our employees feel that they are emotionally and spiritually separated from the larger SARS family, even as they are physically isolated to limit the spread of the virus to others”.
He has further thanked the SARS leadership for how it has dealt with the cases. “COVID-19 is real, and its impact will inevitably infect many of us directly, but certainly affect all of us in one way or another.”
Below are the current COVID-19 stats in South Africa:
SARS is de-contaminating offices where the positive COVID-19 cases where identified and those that were in contact with the people that tested positive are being traced.
“In addition, the SARS Bellville Campus will be temporarily closed to effect deep sanitisation and will reopen on Wednesday, 20 May 2020. We will continue to communicate with taxpayers to provide alternative ways of interacting with SARS in instances where we decide, as an abundance of caution, to close our offices. The safety of our employees and the public is paramount, and we want taxpayers to know that we are committed to the public health, occupational and social distancing measures as is required.”
Kieswetter says SARS continues to administer the range of tax relief measures announced by government to bring much-needed relief to businesses in distress.
“We are clear that the higher purpose of our work enables government to employ frontline workers such as community health workers, nurses and doctors, who put their lives in danger in order to combat the scourge of COVID-19. It also enables the purchase of additional equipment and supplies for testing, contact tracing, personal protection and medicines. Equally important, is government’s support for poor households through social relief measures including financial support and food supplies to the most vulnerable”, Kieswetter emphasises.
“We, therefore, place enormous value on the work carried out by our employees during these challenging and unprecedented times. We are all learning to co-exist with the novel coronavirus and to establish a completely new sense of normality. I wish to extend my deepest appreciation to the thousands of SARS employees, who in doing their work, themselves face the virus head-on”.
The organisation says it is committed to ensure that it complies with COVID-19 measures.