Jun 2020 1st Edition

Government gets ready for services

Written by Silusapho Nyanda
Government services are slowly getting back to normal after the coronavirus (COVID-19) lockdown in March.

Non-essential services provided by government started after South Africa moved to Level 4 of the lockdown.

Public Service and Administration Minister Senzo Mchunu advises that members should still phone to check if an office is indeed open, before physically going there. He urges people to only go to a government office if it is absolutely necessary and rather to see if they can be helped remotely.

Minister Mchunu says some departments will not be fully staffed because of social distancing measures. He advises that when people visit government offices, their details will be recorded for track and trace purposes.

“This excludes service recipients at service delivery points,” he says.

Government employees are set to return to work in phases, following a thorough cleaning of workplaces.

“Departments must develop a schedule for a staggered return of the workforce which will assist in managing the number of employees at the workplace at the same time, to maintain service and business continuity.”

The Minister says regulations outlined in a government circular detailing the plans and preparations needed to manage COVID-19 in the public service must be observed. These include temperature screening for each employee entering government buildings and the mandatory wearing of cloth masks at all times in the workplace by non-medical personnel.

Where possible, employees should continue working remotely from home. “Social distancing is an important consideration and as such, remote work has become an important mechanism in the fight against the spread of the disease.”

He says managers must and ensure that employees with underlying illnesses remain at home or work remotely until the pandemic has passed as they are more vulnerable to becoming critically ill should they contract the virus.

If, for whatever reason, such employees are required to physically go to work, it is incumbent on the relevant director generals and heads of department to take the necessary measures to ensure their employees’ wellbeing.  

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