Yesterday evening the President confirmed that there is a rapid rise in infections, which will stretch our health services beyond what we can manage. We must, therefore, do everything within our means to reduce the overall number of infections and to delay the spread of infections over a longer period. It is essential that every person in this country adheres strictly – and without exception – to the regulations that have already been put in place and the new measures that is the following:
As a consequence, the National Coronavirus Command Council has decided to enforce a nation-wide lockdown for 21 days with effect from midnight on Thursday 26 March.
• From midnight on Thursday 26 March until midnight on Thursday 16 April, all South Africans will have to stay at home.
• The categories of people who will be exempted from this lockdown are the following: 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.
It will also include 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 the provision of medical and hygiene products. A full list of essential personnel will be published.
• Individuals will not be allowed to leave their homes except under strictly controlled circumstances, such as to seek medical care, buy food, medicine, and other supplies or collect a social grant.
• Temporary shelters that meet the necessary hygiene standards will be identified for homeless people. Sites are also being identified for quarantine and self-isolation for people who cannot self-isolate at home.
• All shops and businesses will be closed, except for pharmacies, laboratories, banks, essential financial and payment services, including the JSE, supermarkets, petrol stations, and health care providers.
Companies that are essential to the production and transportation of food, basic goods, and medical supplies will remain open.
Firms that are able to continue their operations remotely should do so.
The nation-wide lockdown is necessary to fundamentally disrupt the chain of transmission across society.
Agricultural and food supply related operations, including farming, form part of essential services and thus our business as well.
We will comply with these regulations and the following decisions have been taken on how we will continue to deliver an essential service:
Head Office Services and Support:
All services will be delivered remotely and all staff will be available on their mobile phones as communicated earlier.
The focus will be on the delivery of continued essential services to our Farming Customers. Only essential staff will be physical at the branches and we will apply it as follows:
• No leave needs to be submitted and we will rely on the integrity of each and every staff member to continue their job remotely where possible. This is not a time of vacation but an obligation to socially distance yourself to the best interest of our country and fellow residents
• No stock counts for the year-end will be performed. This will happen after the lockout at a date suitable to the branches and PWC
• Administration – Staff should work remotely with a laptop and 3G where possible
• Whole Goods Marketers– Staff should work remotely and service Customers via phone
• Parts Sales– One Salesman per branch which will be for the issuing of Parts on essential Jobs to be delivered on Farms
o Only essential services needed by our Farming Customers will be performed at the Farm
• We request all staff to wash hands frequently with hand sanitizers or soap and water for at least 20 seconds;
• cover your nose and mouth when coughing and sneezing with a tissue or flexed elbow;
• avoid close contact with anyone with cold or flu-like symptoms
• Staff should do only the necessary travel to perform this job and avoid any detours
• A document will be issued informing Authorities that our staff belong to the delivery of essential services in order to make free travel available
Service delivery by John Deere:
John Deere, who was closely involved in discussions regarding the lockdown, in a meeting with us today confirmed the view that we are part of essential services, and thus applies the same approach as AFGRI Equipment:
• Stock will be delivered as normal – allow longer lead times
• Will Call Orders will not be continued
We also confirm the emergency Response Procedure as mailed on 20 March 2020 to all staff.
Emergency Response Procedure
This document describes the Emergency Response Procedure to apply in the event of an AFGRI employee or 3rd party being confirmed positive with the Novel Coronavirus (COVID-19) or known direct exposure to a confirmed positive coronavirus case.
The Company, at all times, will respect the privacy and confidentiality of the individual(s) affected.
AFGRI Group Holdings’ procedure in the event of a confirmed COVID-19 case – i.e. by a verified testing facility:
1. If an employee is confirmed positive with COVID-19 or they believe that they may have been directly exposed to a confirmed coronavirus case, they must immediately disclose to their Line Manager and/or their HR Business Partner. The Line Manager and HR Business Partner must keep each other informed.
2. An employee may use:
-AFGRI Intranet COVID-19 disclosure portal.
3. An employee or 3rd party may also use:
-AFGRI Emergency telephone line (011 063 2999) or email COVID19@afgri.co.za (The phone lines are only available between 7 am to 6 pm Monday to Friday).
4. All disclosure channels are for reporting purposes only.
The following information is required for contact tracing:
b. Contact details
c. Employee number
d. Business Unit
e. Line Manager name
f.Have you have traveled outside of the country? If yes when and where?
g. Have you have been in contact with anyone known to be a positively confirmed coronavirus case(s)? (Details to be provided)
h. Are you displaying any of the known Coronavirus symptoms?
– Runny nose
– Shortness of Breath
i. Have they been tested and what were the results?
j.Since your exposure or positive test result have you been in direct contact with any AFGRI employee, contractor, service provider and/or client? (Collect names, dates, times and locations)
k. Since your exposure or positive test result have you been to any AFGRI operational facilities?
If yes, which facility and to which parts of the building or premises did you visit? (Collect location details, dates, times)
5. The HR Business Partner will communicate the case to the Pandemic Response Team (PRT) with an alert to the Facilities PRT representatives, providing all details as listed in 1 above.The line managers of employees / 3rd parties working in the same areas, as identified in section 1, will inform them and explain that:
i. As a company, we will take all appropriate measures to protect the health of our employees.
ii. People who were sharing the same areas, identified above, might be considered as close contacts. And whilst they are not considered as suspected cases, they will be advised to self-quarantine (in preventive isolation) for a minimum period of 5 days, working from home if feasible. They should monitor their health condition regularly and follow the Government guidelines for telephonic consultation with their medical practitioner or phone 0800 029 999 for further advice or if they start experiencing any symptoms typical with the Coronavirus.
iii. Each employee should be advised to follow section 1 in this procedure should their health deteriorate, and/or they return a positive test result for the Coronavirus.
iv. People must apply the recommended hygiene measures which remain the best prevention.
v. The company will follow the guidance of the medical doctors and SA Health Authority.
6. The PRT will notify any 3rd parties who may have been exposed to the confirmed case as identified in section 1.
7. Any communications to AFGRI staff will be actioned by the HR PRT representative. Internal communication will be sent to all employees at the affected premises, confirming the situation and providing guidance on the next steps.
8. The HR Partner will remain in touch with all employees / 3rd parties with confirmed cases and keep the PRT advised accordingly.
9. The Facilities PRT member will keep a track record of confirmed cases for reporting purposes.
10. The authorization to return to work can only be granted by the medical doctor of the confirmed case and notice in writing is required to be submitted to the HR Partner prior to returning to work.
This is a decisive measure to save millions of South Africans from infection and save the lives of hundreds of thousands of people. Our CEO, Agri Services, Jacob De Villiers will be interviewed this afternoon and this will be made available to all staff and Customers. There will be communication with staff on all modes of social media on a regular basis.
Our Staff and their wellbeing is of utmost importance to us, and urge all Branch Managers where possible to provide the
To summarise the words of the President says it best:
“In the days, weeks and months ahead our resolve, our resourcefulness and our unity as a nation will be tested as never before.
I call on all of us, one and all, to play our part. To be courageous, to be patient, and above all, to show compassion. Let us never despair. For we are a nation at one, and we will surely prevail. May God protect our people.
Nkosi Sikelel’ iAfrika”