Security provider G4S this week placed its first order of 25 000 locally produced cloth masks through the newly established Proudly SA cloth mask marketplace portal.
This was done in support of President Cyril Ramaphosa’s call to reserve all medical-grade personal protective equipment (PPE) for the exclusive use of doctors, nurses and other frontline healthcare staff, and to support local manufacturing and the preservation of jobs in the South African clothing and textile industry.
The wearing of cloth masks outside the home became mandatory as of May 1.
The Proudly SA cloth mask portal connects local manufacturers to corporate and retail buyers.
It is a partnership between the Department of Trade, Industry and Competition (DTIC), Southern African Clothing and Textile Workers Union and Business for South Africa (B4SA), and aims to capacitate, retool and reinvigorate the local clothing and textile manufacturing industry, and to generate opportunities for small and medium-sized enterprises, so that they are able to participate in the economy, save and create jobs, and remain resilient in the tough economic times ahead.
G4S, as an essential services provider, continues to operate at the frontline of the pandemic and has, thus far, recorded zero infections.
G4S’s purchase of the 25 000 cloth masks forms part of its broader commitment to ensure its officers and employees have access to the necessary protective equipment and education needed to keep them safe as they work to protect assets, property and communities, the company said.
Apart from PPE and hand sanitiser, the company is also conducting daily temperature checks, regular screenings and ensuring that all employees have access to accurate hygiene and safety guidelines, and training.
Lontana, the DTIC-recommended company that G4S procured its cloth masks from, is the same company that makes the ‘Madiba Shirt’, under the Presidential Shirt brand.
The company has re-engineered itself to become a mask manufacturer, ensuring that its 60 existing employees retain their jobs and income, and extending work to seven other small cut, make, trim manufacturers, who in turn support over 250 jobs, with 90% of employees being women.
Lontana is producing 300 000 cloth masks a week and aims to increase its production to two-million masks a month.