Don’t rush employees back to work, Public Service Association warns, Newsline

Johannesburg – The Public Servants Association (PSA) has warned the government against rushing to recall all employees back to work as this could cause a renewed flare up of Covid-19 transmissions.

The PSA made the call as most civil services were set to return to work after President Cyril Ramaphosa announced a further easing of Covid-19 restrictions to level 1.

South Africa went on a hard level 5 lockdown from March 27, which grounded all so social and economic activity nationwide except for essential services, to try and curb infections of the coronavirus.

Despite its efforts, the most industrialised country in Africa has still recorded the highest number of infections on the continent, and the 9th highest in the world, at 661,936 to date, with 15,992 lives lost while 591,208 people have recovered from the virus.

In a statement late on Monday, the PSA, which represents more than 240 000 public servants, said a rush to recall employees to work would cancel the hard-worn gains achieved during the stricter levels of the lockdown.

“Although there is a decrease in the infection rate, the country is still at the height of the pandemic,” it said.

“Several departments still do not have the necessary infrastructure to ensure that employees maintain social distancing and adhere to other health protocols.”

It said departments such as Home Affairs and the South African Social Security Agency, for example, did not have adequate office space to accommodate all staff and maintain physical distancing.

African News Agency/ANA