News

South African Engineers’ and Founders’ Association

27 March 2020

Please find the amendment to the lockdown regulations below:

Amendment of Lockdown Regulations

25 March 2020

In announcing the lockdown a few days ago, President Ramaphosa stated that certain categories of businesses will be exempt from the lockdown.  These businesses should continue to operate in order to provide critical products and services to the country.  It has been announced that an official list of categories will be released later today. 

Please note that the lockdown applies to all businesses and that the list of exclusions will refer to specific critical business activities only.  Therefore, should an activity of any business not be listed, such activity must be ceased as per the lockdown regulations.

However, should your business form part of the supply chain in a critical area, you will be permitted to continue, subject to continuing to observe social distancing and suitable Occupational Health and Safety rules to prevent the spreading of the virus.

In the interim, employers are advised to provide their employees with a letter of confirmation.  A template for this purpose is available on request.

26 March 2020

The Minister of Trade and Industry, Mr Ebrahim Patel has announced that all businesses that will be allowed to provide essential services are required to seek approval from the Department of Trade, Industry and Competition (the dtic)  in order for them to trade during the period of the lockdown in terms of the regulations published today by the Minister of Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs, Ms Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma in Regulation Gazette No. 11062

Such businesses are required to apply to the Companies and Intellectual Property Commission (CIPC) Bizportal website at www.bizportal.gov.za and obtain a certificate from the Commission that allows them to continue trading. The Bizportal website will contain a menu icon listed as “Essential Service Businesses” through which an application can be made to the CIPC.  The application will be a simple declaration requiring minimal registration details, type of business/trade involved in, what trading name if any is used and whether it meets the requirements contained in the essential services list, the contact details of the person applying as well as the number of employees that will be working during the lockdown period.  The CIPC registry will then pre-populate the remaining company information and email a certificate stating that the business is allowed to remain trading.

The certificate can then be used as evidence to authorities requiring same that indeed the business has been given government permission to trade and that its employees are able to have unrestricted movement ONLY in the course of that trade.

24 March 2020

Some of the key points emerging from today’s inter-ministerial briefing as these may affect members are as follows:

  • Businesses exempted from the lockdown include any businesses involved in the following:
    • The food supply chain from production to distribution
    • Water supply and sanitation
    • Generation and/or distribution of electricity
    • Key maintenance systems needed to avoid serious damage to economic assets, where the interruption to that service could destroy critical working areas or machinery
    • Only essential staff involved in the above are permitted to work

26 March

On 17 March 2020 the Minister of Employment and Labour, Mr. TW Nxesi announced that UIF’s Temporary Employer/ Employee Relief Scheme will be used to ensure that workers are not laid off, as one of the  measures the Department will put in place to contain the spread of the Corona virus pandemic and its impact.

Below is the information outlining  conditions and the  processes for the  Temporary Employer/Employee Relief Scheme (TERS).

  1. THE CURRENT TERS PROCESS

1.1.      The current TERS process came into effect on 11 December 2019 when it was approved by the Director General.

1.2.      In terms of the current TERS process, the UIF may fund the distressed companies directly in relation to the TERS Allowance.

1.3.      The distressed company will only be funded if it meets the key requirements of the UIF being:

1.3.1.     distressed company is able to demonstrate that it has been compliant with the relevant UIF legislation;

1.3.2.     if not compliant, the distressed company undertakes to pay outstanding contributions and bring its declarations up to date within a stipulated timeframe;                    

1.3.3.     the distressed company is able to demonstrate that it will/or has embarked upon a turnaround or sustainability programme which will result in job preservation at the expiry of the funding agreement; and

1.3.4.     the distressed company will be able to meet its obligations in relation to the UIF legislation.

24 March 2020

As you are now aware, President Ramaphosa has announced the implementation of a nation-wide, 21-day lockdown from midnight on Thursday, 26 March 2020.  All businesses will be closed, with certain exceptions, a list of which will be released on due course by the Presidency.  It is important to note that during his address, the President stipulated that companies whose operations required continuous processes, such as furnaces and underground mine operations will be required to make arrangements for care and maintenance to avoid damage.  Clarity on this will be provided as soon as it becomes available.

Members are advised that during this lockdown period, the principle of "no work, no pay" will apply.  Furthermore, no shifts will accumulate to employees towards the calculation of Leave Pay and Leave Enhancement Pay.  Although the President acknowledged that many “large companies” who had already closed were paying their employees and that other companies, particularly large ones, would be called upon to consider doing the same, it is generally accepted that not all companies will be in a position to pay employees whilst they are at home.  In this regard, a proposal, currently being considered, is that employees of businesses unable to afford to pay employees during this time will receive wage payments through the Temporary Employee Relief Scheme (TERS).  

25 March 2020

The latest set of lockdown regulations has been released and is found below:

Final Lockdown Regulations

All advice issued by SAEFA is in line with the regulations.

Please contact the office should you have any queries.

 

21 March 2020

The Department of Employment and Labour issued guidelines to deal with COVID-19 at work places, please see below:

COVID-19 Guideline for the workplace

Easy Aid Guide for Employers

The Department recommends that employers:

  • Be cognizant if the prescriptions of the Occupational Health and Safety Act (OHSA) and the applicable regulations in safeguarding their workplaces;
  • Review and regularly update risk assessments, taking into account the new hazards posed by exposure to COVID-19;
  • Prepare as far in advance as possible for potentially worsening outbreak conditions; and
  • ‘go back to basics’ by conducting hazard identification and risk assessment, determine the level of risk exposure, and communicate with employees.