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Measures to combat COVID-19 & Implications for the GBS Sector


Dear Members and Stakeholders,

We have all just heard President Cyril Ramaphosa announce a 21-day shutdown of non-essential business to curb the spread of the COVID 19 virus in South Africa. The shutdown comes into effect at midnight on Thursday the 26th March 2020 until midnight on Thursday the 16th April 2020.

This is indeed unprecedented for us as a country, as an industry, for your businesses and as individuals; and we are all feeling the impact in a range of ways.
Nevertheless, it is the right thing to do to minimise the risk of our healthcare infrastructure becoming overloaded at great cost to human life; and we support our government fully in its efforts to protect our people and our nation.

Our duty is to protect the people who work in our sector and to preserve the engine room of this vital job-creating sector in our economy for the day we emerge from this crisis.

What does it mean for the GBS Sector
Our sector is inextricably linked to many other sectors in the economy and does not exist in a silo. Government and business leadership, through Government, the Public Private Growth Initiative (PPGI) and Business Unity South Africa (BUSA), have considered which services are crucial to the country in this time and planned for these to continue with as little disruption as possible.

These enable the South African Government or other Governments to sustain life, provide power / energy; protect food and water supplies; enable continuation of economic and social activities; transact; communicate; and maintain law and order.

The PPGI, with our input for the GBS Sector, have assisted government to define the list of crucial and critical services. We will be communicating the approved details of these for the GBS Sector as soon is this is made available to us.

Companies that deliver these services, or a subset of these services, will be able to continue but will be required to adhere to special workplace guidelines and other regulations pertaining to staff movements, security etc.

Companies that don’t deliver these services will be able to continue working from home only, where enabled to do so, but won’t be able to work from their offices as they normally would.

Our preparedness as a sector
BPESA, its partners, members and many other stakeholders have been working tirelessly to prepare for this moment in time. Crisis teams have been established, remote working models have been deployed, physical distancing implemented, various forms of ringfencing of people and facilities put in place, and an obsessive focus on hygiene and health is at play. Awareness campaigns are running, support systems are being put in place and everything is being done to manage as best as possible.

Important Next steps

Tuesday the 24th March
1. BPESA will hold a special Board meeting at mid-day during which the Presidents message and the related details will be unpacked, and a response plan of action tabled.
2. The BPESA National Crisis Management team will hold a special meeting shortly after the Board meeting to determine how best to implement the agreed plan of action – they will then communicate this to the regions through the existing regional crisis management teams.
3. Two meetings will be scheduled for members and other stakeholders to engage and provide input. One will be for all operators. The second will be for all vendors and NPCs.

Wednesday the 25th March
4. A special webinar will be run by Johnathan Goldberg (Expert in Labour Law, Broad Based Black Economic Empowerment, CEO at Global Business Solutions ) for HR executives and other Senior Management on Labour Law during this crisis, including the specifics that apply during a shut down.
The BPESA Board, EXCO and OpsCO, and its partners, will be with you throughout this journey, to support wherever and however we can.

We are blessed in South Africa with an amazing willingness to work together to solve our problems and build a better nation for everyone. This crisis will draw out the best in all of us; we are here for each other.

Yours sincerely
Andy Searle