Dear B4SA and healthcare colleagues
Comment on President Ramaphosa’s address on Monday, 30 March 2021
President Cyril Ramaphosa purposefully delayed his address as a touching tribute to SABC presenter Noxolo Grootboom, whose last news broadcast after 37 years of service was scheduled for 7:00 pm.
The gesture was a reminder we should not forget the details of daily life, even when the big picture is overwhelming. As the President reminded us, a little over a year ago the government declared a National State of Disaster in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. And, as he reiterated, “we are not yet ready to return to normal life”. But infections have stabilised, and hospitalisations and deaths are declining.
The President also spoke at length about the efforts to procure vaccines. Negotiations were underway to secure enough doses to immunise 41 million South Africans, presumably enough to attain “herd immunity”.
For B4SA, three aspects of the speech stood out. One was the acknowledgement and recognition that “Greater collaboration between government, business, labour and civil society is key to the success of the vaccine rollout.” The second was his commitment that government would “continue to be guided by data on the epidemiological situation and by expert advice”. And three, was that the government “remained committed to keeping the country informed” and that it would be “absolutely transparent… about the process” of the rollout.
This week BUSA led a delegation of business leaders to meet with the President and Ministers of Health and Finance to discuss our support for the national vaccination programme. As business leaders we meet regularly with the President, cabinet members and senior civil servants to better coordinate and deepen government and businesses cooperation to help deliver on all aspects of the national vaccination programme. As business, while we welcome the progress made in procuring millions of new vaccines we have also acknowledged the many acute challenges facing the nation such as building an EVDS system capable of registering, sequencing, and managing millions of people’s vaccination visits, developing mechanisms to reimburse private sector providers administering the vaccinations, and communicating to and reassuring the country. As you can read below, B4SA has reorganised itself to better confront these challenges. This week’s meeting was productive with broad agreement reached on the key challenges faced and an ongoing commitment to further, regular engagement at the highest level to mobilise and align business capacity – though B4SA – to help solve practical problems as they emerge.
Collaboration, science-based decisions and transparency are the essential elements on which B4SA functions. We can only play a meaningful role in the nation’s economic recovery if these are adhered to by all stakeholders.
Martin Kingston, Chairman, B4SA Steering Committee
B4SA Phase 2 Governance Structure
B4SA has adapted its structure to ensure that it is prepared and better positioned in its support of the government/NDoH led Phase 2 vaccination programme, and in the ongoing fight against the COVID-19 pandemic. The enhanced B4SA structure, see below, enables us to better mobilise our significant capabilities and deliver the required vaccine requirement across the nation. We will provide more detailed information from each of these working groups, over the coming weeks.
FOLLOW US ON SOCIAL MEDIA
OFFICIAL GOVERNMENT REGULATIONS AND GUIDELINES ON COVID-19
All official government regulations and guidelines are available at https://www.gov.za/coronavirus/guidelines