13 of 2020

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Newsletter No. 13                                                                                               17 April 2020

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Request For Information No DSBD/COVID19: 10/04/2019-2020

A call out to existing South African owned, registered and tax compliant SMMEs and cooperatives to submit information in the following categories.

  • Following President Cyril Ramaphosa’s declaration of Covid-19 pandemic as a National State of Disaster; the Department of Small Business Development (DSBD) has identified SMMEs and Cooperatives as essential contributing partners in assisting the Country to combat this national and global pandemic.
  • Fabric / Cloth face mask for the general public of South Africa is only part of a broader solution to curb the spread of COVID-19 and it must always be used in combination with other hygienic methods of prevention. The Department of Health has recommend for the use of fabric/ cloth face masks with the main benefit reducing the amount of Coronavirus or Influenza virus being coughed up by those with the infection thereby reducing its spread through droplets. Since some persons with the Coronavirus may not have symptoms or may not know they have it, everyone should wear a face-mask
  • It is however noted that such masks are not a replacement for other recommended precautionary measures. They should not provide a false sense of protection that lead to a lapse in the application of proper preventative measures like personal hand hygiene, respiratory hygiene and physical (social) distancing.
  • Government is prioritised securing these products all the stakeholders nationally to urgently deal with the pandemic. DSBD is implementing swift interventions to support small businesses that manufacture these products such as hygiene, medical and food items and related support services businesses.
  • This call out is meant to target ONLY South African Owned Small Businesses and Cooperatives (as Defined in terms of the National Small Enterprise Act 1997) that are manufacturing these products and/or are providing the services as outlined in the document.

RFI – CLOTH FACE MASKS

Edcon may not reopen after lockdown

By Janice Kew : – Bloomberg

Retailer can’t pay suppliers

Edcon Holdings, South Africa’s second-biggest clothing retailer, said it may not be able to re-open at the end of a three-week national shutdown to combat the coronavirus outbreak.

The Johannesburg-based owner of the Edgars and Jet chains is facing a trading slump after President Cyril Ramaphosa said the pandemic merited the status of national disaster. Like-for-like sales have dropped 45% since that statement less than two weeks ago, and March revenue will be R400 million below the retailer’s forecasts, chief executive officer Grant Pattison said in a statement to suppliers sent to Bloomberg News.

“The failure to meet the March sales targets, and the expected drop in collections of the debtor’s book, will mean that the business only has sufficient liquidity to pay salaries,” Pattison said. “Edcon is unable to honour any other accounts payable during this period.”

Ramaphosa has ordered a 21-day lockdown from Friday to curb the spread of the coronavirus as infections continue to increase. Essential services such as grocers, pharmacies, banks and gas stations will be allowed to remain open, but the bulk of Edcon’s 1 100 clothing stores will close, costing about R800 million in sales, Pattison said.

Edcon may need to consider a local form of bankruptcy and will hold talks with government about any possible state assistance, the CEO said.

“I am therefore unable to make you any promises other than to keep you updated of developments or plans the board approves,” Pattison said to the suppliers. “What we are experiencing at Edcon is an early indicator of the challenge that both government and many other businesses will have to face after the lockdown.”

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Covid – 19: Textile industry agrees on temporary relief for employees

By Tania Broughton – Ground Up

This is one of the first of severtal similar agreements being negotiated across different industires.

Regulations giving effect to the government’s commitment to assist ailing industries and workers through the Unemployment Insurance Fund are being gazetted.

One of the first agreements, gazetted on Tuesday, is between the Minister of Labour and the National Textile Bargaining Council. It states that the regulations apply to all employers in the industry, not just council members, but only to those employees earning “wages” and not “salaries”.

It guarantees an amount equal to full pay for the three-week period of the lockdown for those not working, jointly paid by employers with subsidies from the fund through its Temporary Employer-Employee Relief Scheme (TERS).

Labour lawyer Dunstan Farrell told Groundup that while these regulations do not specify the rand amounts, the standard industry agreements reflected that the scheme would pay out between R3,500 – the minimum wage – up to a maximum of R17,712 per worker on a sliding scale.

He explained that wages are paid at an hourly rate, per hour actually worked, while salaries are a fixed amount per month.

The regulations state that the issue of relief for salaried workers is to be referred to a Rapid Response team, established to consider and resolve any unforeseen matters.

The preamble to the regulations records the intention to ensure that workers are not left destitute and to protect the industry.

In order to claim, both the company and the employers need to be “in good standing” with the fund.

The secretary to the council has to open a designated bank account into which the funds will be paid, ringfenced, and paid out to qualifying employees.

The funds, at all times, will be considered “worker funds”.

The secretary must keep proper accounting records and submit weekly reports of all income and disbursements to the fund.

Companies must provide proper documentation for any drawdown of funds, and these must be made immediately available to the fund on request.

Any funds which remain after the lockdown period must be refunded.

“The parties acknowledge that the cost implications are unforeseen and unprecedented and shall continue to explore means by which it could be mitigated.”

The agreement records that post lockdown, any overtime required to make up lost production will be paid at a normal rate.

Did you know……..

The bikini was named by its designer, Louis Réard, after Bikini Atoll, a site in the South Pacific where the US conducted nuclear testing. He wanted the bikini to cause a shock as big as an atom bomb. Réard declared a bikini was only a bikini if it contained only enough fabric that could be “pulled through a wedding ring.”

Women’s swimwear of course wasn’t always so skimpy: in Victorian times they swam in wool bathing costumes that covered their thighs and torsos. In fact, Australian swimmer Annette Kellerman was arrested in Boston in 1907 for wearing a form-fitting one-piece swimsuit.

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