Dear valued client
South Africa will go into a national lockdown on Friday, 27 March 2020 (immediately after midnight on Thursday) to slow the spread of the novel coronavirus. The shutdown will last for 21 days (“the lockdown period”).
During that time, all businesses and services must shut down other than a list of exempted businesses that are considered critical to supporting the health and safety of South Africans (“exempted businesses and services”).
The exempted business and services include:
• Agricultural and food supply related operations, farming, veterinary and phytosanitary provider services, pest control services, and chemical and fertilizer providers.
• Food, beverages and essential products manufacturing and processing facilities.
• Warehousing, transport and logistics for food and essential products, and health-related goods.
• Ports, and road and rail networks will remain open in order to facilitate the import and export of essential products.
• Food outlets – retail, wholesale, spaza shops and malls for food and essential products.
• Critical banking and financial services.
Although we await the detailed regulations to be published in terms of the Disaster Management Act, it is clear that the entire agro-food value chain is considered an essential industry, and forms part of the Exempted Business and Services.
AFGRI Group Holdings, including its subsidiaries, forms part of the agro-food value chain.
Accordingly, the following businesses and services in the Group will continue operating during the lockdown period:
1. All grain silos and bunkers
2. All AFGRI Equipment branches and services
3. All UNIGRO financial services, including e-accounts;
4. All food processing and manufacturing facilities, including AFGRI Animal Feeds and AFGRI Milling
5. Hinterland (AFGRI Town and Country) retail branches
Our employees will be allowed to travel to provide these services to you.
We will continue to act lawfully and responsibly in accordance with the Disaster Management Act and its regulations and if anything changes we will contact you. Employees who are not deemed essential to be in the office or their normal place of work, will work from home. However, whether they work from home or from their normal workplace, they will continue to be contactable and provide you with the same services and products you are accustomed to.
Our clients’ and employees’ health and safety are paramount. It is also, however, important to appreciate the fact that the AFGRI Group of companies, our employees and our clients form part of the agro-food sector, which has rightfully been recognised as essential to the country fighting the Covid-19 pandemic. This is a privilege, but also a huge responsibility.
Lastly, we wish to ensure you that the Group has the operational plans and human resources necessary to support you, our valued client, in these trying times.
We will continue to keep you updated with regards to any developments, including on our social media channels and our website.
Acting Group CEO