Public Service and Administration Minister Senzo Mchunu has urged healthcare workers to uphold principles of Batho Pele as they are on the front line of the fight against Covid-19, further clarifying that the Public Service Commission is allowed to operate during the lockdown.
The DA had earlier threatened to head to court if the commission could not be deemed an essential service since it plays an important role in combating corruption.
In a media briefing on the state of readiness for public service operations under the Covid-19 level lockdown on Friday, Mchunu said the state’s primary mandate was to protect citizens against Covid-19 and its harsh effects.
“Government has had to make decisions in collaboration with experts and now we have seen the results. We also had to make the decision to provide health care for all in an attempt to protect our citizens. South Africa has been commended in this regard all over for the world for being efficient in curbing the spread of Covid-19. Government also did this by implementing decisions efficiently in providing financial relief to those in need.”
Mchunu said there would be a need for more public servants to return to work to assist government in facilitating the introduction of different levels of the lockdown.
He said the department was working on a detailed framework that would decide the standards and norms for public servants who would be working from home.
“The department has issued many circulars, the latest being Circular No 18 of 2020, to the entire Public Service that details necessary measures to ensure the containment and management of Covid-19 in the public service.”
The minister further encouraged those who could work remotely to do so and for departments to provide necessary equipment for work to resume. The remote workers must also be ready to go to the office every now at the department’s request.
“All DGs and HoDs are directed to ensure that all health and precautionary measures to prevent and contain the spread of Covid-19 are adhered to level 4 regulations.”
A thorough cleaning of the workplace will have to done to contain and manage the spread of Covid-19; a mandatory screening of temperature and wearing of face masks must be observed and hand sanitisers must be placed in necessary points and visitors are allowed only if they is a prior arrangement and a visitors’ register must be kept in case of tracking purposes, he said.
“To limit the number of employees arriving, leaving or working at the same time, the DGs and HoDs should consider amending working times to minimise the risk associated with the simultaneous arrival and departure of employees.”
The department has also encouraged those who can to use online services to limit physical contact.