The Manufacturing Circle is calling on small, medium-sized and microenterprises and larger manufacturing firms, to participate in a sector-wide campaign to assess the sector’s readiness to re-enter the economy by ensuring each has “well thought out” compliance plans to implement Covid-19 health, safety and hygiene protocols.
This follows President Cyril Ramaphosa’s address on April 21, wherein he highlighted that “the pandemic requires an economic response that is equal to the scale of the disruption it is causing”.
According to the industry association, “this means that as we await government to finalise its thinking around the shortest, most effective route to reopening the economy, all of us as sectors have a responsibility to ensure that each one of us is ready with a plan to re-enter the economy that prioritises both the health and wellness of our employees whilst at the same time creating an environment for successful operations”.
Referring to South Africa’s struggling manufacturing sector, and the adverse impacts of the uncertainty surrounding the resumption of economic activity, Manufacturing Circle chairperson Ayanda Mngadi lamented the closure of factories that had “systematically reduced the country’s productive capacity and placed considerable strain on cash flow liquidity”, which, in turn, affects the ability to keep workers gainfully employed.
She added that, while in full support of the second phase of the lockdown, the Manufacturing Circle recognised the need for manufacturers to assure government and its own workforces that the sector was ready and that it was fully cognisant that the health and wellbeing of its workers was directly linked to businesses productivity.
To mitigate the pressure imposed by Covid-19, the Manufacturing Circle is calling for sector-wide responses to a Covid-19 Protocols Readiness Assessment to solicit commitment and compliance in access control to operations, screening and temperature testing, as well as workplace re-induction, employee transport to operations and home, and personal protective equipment.
All manufacturers with business operations in South Africa are encouraged to submit their responses by 12:00 on April 24.