Organised business has pledged its full support for the measures announced last night by President Cyril Ramaphosa to combat Covid-19 and has called on its members to make the maximum possible contribution to contain the virus.
“I called the President last night to commend him for providing sterling leadership at such a crucial time,” says Sipho Pityana, president of Business Unity South Africa – the country’s apex business organisation. “I assured him of business’ support and readiness to support in whatever way we can.”
“The President has made it clear what needs to be done, and we are all compelled to support him, as well as to reinforce the excellent leadership and management shown by Health Minister Zweli Mkhize and key health stakeholders such as the World Health Organisation.
“We are urging our member organisations to ensure that the President’s measures are implemented as speedily as possible, and to increase awareness and positive action wherever possible.
The President also referred to the potentially damaging impact on our economy that the Covid-19 virus will have. This will exacerbate the economic crisis we are already experiencing, and business will work with government and labour to pull resources and capacity together to mitigate the economic, health and social risks posed by the virus.
BUSA has also committed the resources of its Covid-19 task team — which has developed a detailed business response to the virus — in support of government’s measures.
“Covid-19 is top of the agenda for today’s meeting of the Nedlac Exco, and business will be there to play its part to ensure we all do whatever is possible. We also look forward to the further detail that is due to be provided today in government’s inter-ministerial media briefing, and will ensure our members are kept fully aware of how the campaign against Covid-19 is to be implemented – particularly in terms of how it impacts on workers, users of public transport, and South Africans in general.”
Pityana added: “It is essential that we flatten the curve of infection to delay the peak of the outbreak and reduce its height by spreading it over a longer period of time.
“There can be no doubt about the scale of what we are confronting. We need fundamental behavioural change – in particular, better hygiene and social distancing — if we are to overcome this massive challenge.
“The measures announced by the President will disrupt all our lives and no doubt have a massive impact on economic activity, but we have no other choice but to act, and to act in unison.”
Sipho Mila Pityana (President)