AgriSETA saluted its stakeholder companies in the food and non-alcoholic beverages retail value chain who are at the forefront of the fight against the covid-19 pandemic.
While millions of South Africans are indoors following a government decision, the agri-sector is considered an essential service and therefore exempted from the lockdown.
Zenzele Myeza, the AgriSETA CEO, says, “From our farmers and producers, to our manufacturers, logistics and public transportation, our wholesalers and retailers, we say siyabonga, siyabulela, thank you, inkomu, realeboga, baie dankie, rikhoulivhuwal.”
Myeza urged customers to continue exercising all the precautionary measures when accessing services from stakeholder companies. “This will go a long way in protecting their courageous employees, protect you, and to stop the spread of the virus.”
AgriSETA reminded people to avoid bulk-buying, maintain social distancing, frequently wash or sanitise their hands, and to use their elbow or a tissue to cover their mouths when coughing or sneezing.
For covid-19 information call Mzansi’s covid-19 lockdown line on 0800 029 999.
Water supply now centralised
Agri SA has confirmed that the appointment of Rand Water as implementation agent concerning the distribution of water is a temporary emergency measure to combat the covid-19 pandemic as long as the state of disaster persists.
Agri SA also confirmed that the department of water and sanitation will be keeping a record of all the costing involved. Irrigation boards will be able to claim back for those costs. The department will take the necessary measures to ensure that where untreated water is sourced for supply to users, water will be purified to the required quality standards.
“Agri SA has committed to assist the department in dealing with the crisis. We appreciate the magnitude of the crisis and water for drinking and hygiene purposes supersedes other uses during this time,” says Janse Rabie, head of Agri SA’s Natural Resources Centre of Excellence.
“This situation is being dealt with by minister Lindiwe Sisulu and her team with the utmost diligence and professionalism. We applaud her for her leadership in this crisis. We urge our members to ensure that any taking and supply of water is dealt with in close collaboration by the department.”
Several farming areas nationwide have been without water for months and some even for years. Government is now caught up in a rush to ensure safe water supply given the need for around-the-clock hygiene practices to avert a covid-19 crisis.
However, TLU SA says they are concerned by the centralisation of water sources during the covid-19 lockdown as they believe it is not happening for the right reasons and that it will have an adverse effect on farmers.
“We are not convinced Rand Water has the technology at its disposal or the department the capability,” says Steven Vermaak, chairperson of TLU SA’s water committee. “TLU SA has been struggling to solve a dispute over water with the department for some time. We are also still awaiting feedback on the installation of water meters.”
Communities in areas affected by water shortages can call 0800 200 200.
Free State MEC spreads covid-19 awareness in rural towns
The Free State MEC for agriculture and rural development, William Bulwane, and Letsemeng Municipality acting mayor, Sello Bahumi, and councillors embarked on spreading awareness of covid-19 and lockdown regulations in Petrusburg.
The weekend visit was one of the provincial government’s commitments to ensure that community members who receive social grants observe and adhere to lockdown regulations to prevent further spread of the deadly coronavirus.
Bulwane and Bahumi distributed porridge and vegetable seed packets to households in need. Bulwane says, “This is part of the departmental footprint of food security to encourage community members to start backyard gardens to fight poverty in rural towns and communities.”
Online SA’ns have confidence in government
A majority of online South Africans are confident that the national government is effectively addressing the threat posed by the spread of the coronavirus, even as lockdowns and closures force millions to isolate themselves. They also expressed their confidence in international institutions in handling the crisis.
A new Ipsos poll show that about six in every ten online South Africans expressed confidence in the South African Government (61%) dealing with the spread of the pandemic. In contrast, Mzansi businesses are not yet viewed with confidence regarding covid-19 as only 52% expressed confidence in the institutions that should play a key role in keeping our economy going. Ipsos notes, however, that with more and more businesses taking bold steps to support communities during these difficult times, this result might change rapidly in the weeks to come.