Covid 19 National Crisis

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CORONA VIRUS LOCKDOWN ADVISORY

Who is exempt from National Lockdown and what will be closed?

EXEMPTIONS:
• health workers in the public and private sectors;
• emergency personnel;
• those in security services – such as the police, traffic officers, military medical personnel, soldiers – and other persons necessary for our
response to the pandemic;
• those involved in the production, distribution and supply of food and basic goods;
• essential banking services;
• the maintenance of power, water and telecommunications services;
• laboratory services; and
• those in the provision of medical and hygiene products.
• President Ramaphosa said a full list of essential personnel would be published soon.
All shops, businesses and religious institutions including churches will be
closed, except for:
• pharmacies;
• laboratories;
• banks;
• essential financial and payment services, including the Johannesburg Stock Exchange;
• supermarkets;
• petrol stations; and
• healthcare providers.
“Any other businesses that are able to continue their operations
remotely should do so,” said Ramaphosa.

FOR CHURCHES:
Unfortunately, churches are to remain closed during lockdown.
We encourage churches to use electronic and social media platforms to
convey their messages to congregants and the broader public.

SOCIAL GRANT PAYMENTS
Social Development Minister Lindiwe Zulu says the South African Social Security
Agency (SASSA) is ready for social grant payments as from 31 March 2020.
Unpacking the department’s intervention measures on Coronavirus (COVID-19)
during a Social Cluster briefing in Pretoria on Tuesday, Zulu said retailers and the
banking industry are working closely with SASSA to ensure that everyone is able to
access their money.
“We work with Treasury to make sure that the monies are paid a bit early, so that
people can access the money. We are happy that Treasury has stepped up and made
sure that everything is processed properly.
“Citizens are reminded that the elderly and people with disabilities should be
allowed to access their grants on the 30th and 31st, so that they can return home as
quickly as possible, given the emergency that has been declared. All other grants will
be available from 31 April 2020,” Zulu said.
The Minister reminded recipients that once the money is paid into their account, it
will remain there until they withdraw it.
SASSA OFFICES CLOSE
Meanwhile, SASSA offices will be closed from Friday until 16 April 2020, and no new
applications will be processed until after the lockdown.
Zulu said all applicants who need immediate assistance will be channelled to the
department’s Social Relief of Distress (SRD), and applications will be done through
the call centre.
With regards to grant administration services, Zulu said SASSA’s local offices will also
be on lockdown from Friday until 16 April 2020.
“No new applications for grants will be done during the period of lockdown.
Concerns and enquiries can be directed to the call centre on 0800 601 011 or email
GrantEnquiries@sassa.gov.za.” The call centre will be operational during the
lockdown.
SOCIAL SERVICES CONTINUE OPERATIONS
Zulu said while some shelters had to close, others like elderly centres and
orphanages cannot be closed.
“Our responsibility is to make sure that we step up in supporting them and making
sure that they are not left isolated,” the Minister said.

EMPLOYMENT RELATED PLANS
Government has unveiled employment related plans expected to soften the blow of
the COVID-19 countrywide lockdown, on workers and firms.
During the lockdown, which will come into effect on Thursday midnight until
midnight 16 April, only essential services will be able to perform work as normal.
“A large cohort of the workers will remain at work in the emergency services,” said
Employment and Labour Minister Thulas Nxesi during a press briefing on Tuesday.
Sectors considered essential services include medical, security, fire fighters, water
and sanitation personnel. Information Communication and Technology, electricity
generation, transmission and distribution, media and communication, transportation
logistics personnel are also considered essential service providers.
“These are essential because if they are interrupted, lives would be endangered,
personal safety and the health of the whole and or part of the population. Those
who will be working during this period will be expected to be supplied with the
necessary protective gear when on duty,” said the Minister.
Workers who will be affected by the 21-day lockdown or become ill during the
outbreak will receive the adequate support from the department, he said.
“We are activating the Basic Conditions of Employment Act rights for those
employees to sick leave and annual leave. So there’s nothing extraordinary there, it’s
there in the law.
However, through NEDLAC, employers and labour have agreed to negotiate special
leave conditions.
Those who fall ill will be covered by the Compensation Fund (CF) or the
compensation act.
“The UIF benefits for illness, reduced worktime and unemployment will then kick-in.
In addition, the UIF will compensate workers through a new National Disaster
Benefit.”
He said figures would not be released to limit expectations.
“Our actuaries are crunching the figures; they are meeting with NEDLAC
stakeholders and expect that tomorrow we will make detailed announcements
including how this is going to be administered.

“Remember that we are talking about millions of workers who are going to be
claiming. We need to find a way that we will decentralize that. We have agreed that
we are going to use the companies, the bargaining councils, are going to be
advancing monies to them and also allow them to pay those employees, but with
very strict conditions,” he said.
The benefit will be calculated on a scale not less than the R3 500 minimum wage.
The Fund will also be expanded and expedited to the temporary employer/employee
relief scheme which assists destressed companies in the form of subsidies to fund
directly worker wages.
“One of the conditions is that the company embark upon a turnaround on
sustainable programmes but this is overseen by the CMMA and we will be making
information available tomorrow but already most companies are aware that they
obtain forms and all relevant detail through the UIF website,” he said.
He emphasised that companies had Occupational Health and Safety responsibility to
protect the health of employees.
“This will include conducting risk assessment, providing necessary protective
equipment and putting in place systems that will deal with any potential outbreak in
the work environment.
“Informal sectors, not registered with UIF, the department can’t assist but the
President on Monday said a safety net would be developed to secure those in the
sector,” he said.

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