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Keen to save jobs, South Africa opens construction sector

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South Africa has opened the construction sector under Alert Level 3 to save critical jobs even as the country seeks to ease restrictions due to the Covid-19 pandemic.

David Maynier, Member of the Executive Council(MEC) says sector is already under enormous strain and an estimated 100,000 direct and indirect jobs could be lost due to the impact of Covid-19.

“We welcome the announcement by President Cyril Ramaphosa last night that the whole of South Africa will be moving to Alert Level 3 from 1 June 2020, and that all economic activity will resume except for certain sectors,” said Mr Maynier.

“We are particularly glad to hear that the construction sector are likely to be confirmed with the release of the Alert Level 3 regulations by the Minister of Cooperative Governance and Traditional affairs, Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma.”

Maynier however expressed concerns about the tourism sector which is a major contributor to jobs and the economy in the Western Cape. This sector has already been hard-hit and could cost the Western Cape around 104,504 direct and indirect jobs in 2020.

But he also cautioned people to take precautions in their workplaces to avoid a second wave of the coronavirus.

“To avoid a return to a hard lockdown, it is imperative that every business that is operating now, or which opens under the new alert level, plays by the rules, and implements the necessary health and safety measures as instructed by national government to avoid further negative impacts on their respective sector,”he advised.

It is just as important that every person returning to the workplace always adheres to the safety guidelines that are put in place by their employer, even when taking a break in a communal area, he added.

“We will all have to pull together, and we will all have to work together, in the coming days, and weeks, and months because, in the end, it is up to all of us to stop the spread of Covid-19 in the Western Cape.”

Despite the decision to open the economy, President Cyril Ramaphosa says that the country has not yet overcome the virus. With 23,615 cases and 481 deaths as of Tuesday afternoon, according to Johns Hopkins University data, South Africa remains the most affected nation in Africa.

Businesses reopening will be subject to “strict health protocols” and social-distancing measures, president  Ramaphosa said in a televised address on Sunday.

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