South Africa’s sugar industry was relieved and grateful that the sector was deemed an essential service by the government during the national Covid-19 pandemic lockdown starting March 27, 2020.
The SA Canegrowers’ team swung into action immediately to support its members to comply with statutory regulations through regular and consistent communication on Department of Labour regulations aimed at keeping essential workers safe and on safety requirements for the transport and delivery of sugarcane to the country’s various sugar factories.
Training on measures to prevent the spread of the disease as well as the supply of protective equipment such as masks were provided in all the regions by SA Canegrowers’ staff.
Responding to a growing economic crisis in rural areas as a direct result of the national lockdown, members of SA Canegrowers’ Local Grower Councils delivered food parcels and food vouchers in partnership with the national retailer, Boxer Stores to families struggling to survive.
Following the recent announcement by President Cyril Ramaphosa that the National State of Disaster would be extended to December 15 to prevent the spread of a second wave of infections, SA Canegrowers’ has made sure its members continue to adhere to regulatory measures such as the wearing of masks, social distancing when appropriate and using hand sanitisers to prevent the spread of the disease in the country.
SA Canegrowers’ administrative staff have also continued to work from home only coming into the offices when considered absolutely necessary or on a roster basis to make sure no more than the required number of people are on the premises at any given time.