Public Service and Administration Minister Senzo Mchunu. Picture: Siyabulela Duda/GCIS
Public Service and Administration Minister Senzo Mchunu. Picture: Siyabulela Duda/GCIS

Covid-19 in SA: Stringent measures should be in place as public servants go back to work

By Zintle Mahlati Time of article published May 8, 2020

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Johannesburg - Public Service and Administration Minister Senzo Mchunu says various public servants will be returning to work during Level 4 of the lockdown, but stringent measures should be in place to ensure the safety of workers.

Mchunu was briefing the media on Friday on the readiness of public service departments to return to work. A large number of public servants were working during Level five of the lockdown as they were deemed as essential service, this includes SAPS, health workers and emergency personnel.

And now as Level 4 of the lockdown is underway, and various parts of the economy begin operations, Mchunu said there is a need that some government departments to also return to workplaces.

The minister said a circular was issued to all government departments, national and provincial, which outlined what is expected from each department to ensure workers safety on their return to work. Mchunu said on who decides which employees should return that will be up to the various department's HODs and director-generals. He could not provide a figure on how many public servant workers were expected to return to work.

The conditions DPSA has set-out guidelines for government departments as part of reopening which include; setting-up a Covid-19 steering committee in each department that will deal with implementing safety measures related to containing the virus. Government offices will also have to provide screening for employees, ensure offices are sanitised, ever entrance point has sanitizers and personal protective equipment is supplied to those in need. Department will also need to consult with unions on safety protocols.

Mchunu said heads of departments should also make arrangements to provide the option to work from home for those workers that do not need to be at the office.

The department of defence said on Friday that it had begun recalling employees that had been not been required to work during Level five of the lockdown.

 The department said the return of required workers would be done in a staggered and phased manner in line with the needs and safety of workers. The department said it had consulted unions and had created a steering committee to tenure safety of workers. The provision of sanitizers, masks and scanners for screening will be provided, the department said. 

IOL

* For the latest on the Covid-19 outbreak visit IOL's #Coronavirus trend page

** If you think you have been exposed to the Covid-19 virus, please call the government's 24-hour hotline on 0800 029 999 or go to SA Coronavirus for more information.

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