The government continues to serve with caution amid the COVID- 19 outbreak
Following President Cyril Ramaphosa’ s declaration of the State of National Disaster due to the Corona Virus (COVID–19), the Department of Public Service and Administration (DPSA) calls for government departments to ensure all necessary precautions are in place to mitigate the spread of the pandemic among public servants and the citizens interfacing with government at frontline service delivery points.
The Director-General of the DPSA, Ms Yoliswa Makhasi has issued Circular No 07 of 2020, outlining guidelines for the containment and management of the COVID- 19 in the Public Service, in line with the Occupational Health and Safety Act (OHSA, 1993), Regulation 53.
The DPSA urges departments to ensure among others, that all health and safety precautions in line with the protocols issued by the National Department of Health (NDoH) and World Health Organisation (WHO) are followed by all public officials, and that awareness programmes are conducted regularly in order to remain healthy and to manage any exposure to the COVID- 19 within their workspaces.
The Department further calls for government Departments that provide frontline services that require officials to have direct contact with members of the public to develop internal protocols and communication strategies to manage the interactions so as to ensure the continuation of service delivery in their respective sectors in line with protocols on the management of COVID-19.
In addition the DPSA urges all Departments to ensure that there is equipment for temperature screening of employees on daily basis; sufficient disinfectants, hand sanitisers, soaps and tissues; and that quarantine rooms are created to respond to cases detected in the workplace.
The following precautionary measures for frontline officials should be implemented:
- Provide frontline employees with the necessary protective equipment, such as latex gloves, etc. in handling documents and assisting citizens.
- Provide frontline employees with sufficient training to assist them to identify the risks and mitigating it sufficiently.
- Ensure the workspace of frontline employees have sufficient facilities for them to wash their hands.
- Ensure the cleaning of the hard surfaces e.g. workstations, countertops, and doorknobs on an hourly basis. The cleaning of the surfaces must be recorded on a two (2) hourly basis
- Ensure frontline employees are conversant with the protocols pertaining to COVID-19 in order to respond timeously to identify risks.
- Prevention of close or physical contact in the workplace, such as shaking hands.
In order to mitigate transmission and spread of the virus at service points and that citizens are served in a safe and secure service delivery environment, departments should:
- ensure cleaning of the waiting area for members of the public on a two (2) hourly basis;
- provision of hand sanitisers at strategic places for members of the public. Ensure the numbers of members of the public allowed in the venue is consistent with the protocols and guidelines of the department and management of crowds in waiting areas or/and queues;
- installation of scanners and ensure each and every member of the public is checked before entering the facility;
- guide and direct members of the public displaying symptoms consistent with COVID-19 to a medical professional;
- avail awareness material on COVID-19 to members of the public advising on the necessity for adherence to the protocols for COVID-19;
- ensure posters on COVID-19 are placed in strategic locations where members of the public can be informed.
In instances where some services can be deferred or re-directed to better manage gatherings, departments are advised to classify their services in terms of direct, indirect, back- end and transversal and inform citizens of which key services they will make available during the three (3) month period. Where online services are provided citizens must be encouraged to use these services so as to lessen physical interaction.
Public employees are advised to report any suspected case of exposure or positive test to the COVID- 19 in terms of the NDoH guidelines at www.health.gov.za and to the DPSA through the dedicated email address: [email protected].
The DPSA continues to call for calm and cooperation from Public Service employees during this period.
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