SAIPA's response to the Corona Virus Pandemic

On Sunday the Cabinet met in an extraordinary session to debate the Corvid-19 virus and how South Africa should respond to this pandemic, which is exponentially spreading across all parts of the globe.

The President, in his address after the Cabinet meeting, described the current situation as ‘the most definitive Thuma Mina moment for our country’, expressing great trust that all South Africans would positively respond to his call for common action to overcome what could be a national catastrophe.

To prevent our country from falling into the same spiral that countries such as Italy, South Korea and Iran have fallen, drastic measures pertaining to surveillance and testing, international and local flights, and social distancing are being expeditiously implemented. Although, all the institutions of the state are being mobilised to lead this effort, the success thereof will heavily depend on every person, every company, every trade union, every NGO, every university, every college, every school, every religious group and every taxi association playing their part. Failure to comply, will inevitably exacerbate the problem and ultimately compel the government to resort to the extreme measures applied in countries such as China and Italy.  By then the pressure on our fragile health system would have reached breaking point, elderly persons and those with underlying health conditions succumbing to the virus. Such a tragedy is, however, preventable if we all step up to the plate in the spirit of ubuntu and heed to recommendations included in the President’s speech.

As one of the foremost accountancy bodies in Africa, SAIPA is committed to serving as a role model to prevent the devastating effects of this virus taking hold in our country and across the African continent.  We implore every SAIPA member and every staff member to set an example that all others can follow, be it in our personal or professional lives. From the platforms we have, we should use every opportunity to amplify the Presidents message and encourage compliance.

We should all contribute by paying due attention to at least the following:

  • suspend all international travel;
  • drastically limit local travel, especially by air;
  • carefully monitor our health reporting to medical professionals for testing if we
  • experience any signs of fever of repetitive dry coughing; 1
  • encourage others, especially elderly with pre-existing health conditions, to
  • immediately avail themselves of testing if they display any of the aforesaid symptoms; self-quarantining if we test as positive even if we are not very ill, thus preventing the spreading of the virus;
  • not visiting elderly in old age and nursing homes, as they are most vulnerable to the virus and we pose a potential risk;
  • be cautious not to sneeze without due protection when in in confined environments with others, wiping any surfaces onto which droplets could have fallen;
  • regularly washing our hands with sanitising soap that has a minimum of 60% alcohol content;
  • not touching our face, especially our nose and eyes;
  • wearing a surgical mask whenever exposure to groups is inevitable;
  • staying away from restaurants, pubs, sporting events and theatres where more than 15 persons are present;
  • limiting playdays or other opportunities where our children gather with large numbers of other children;
  • encouraging the elderly to self-quarantine and supporting them by assisting with procuring essentials and;
  • supporting our healthcare providers and practitioners that are destined to be under severe pressure and extreme danger of exposure.

Our President has set a shining example of leadership at a time where other leaders of some of the foremost countries are acting in hesitant and ineffective ways. It is now up to us to emulate the good example he has set and to help soften the human and economic consequences of this virus pandemic.

Kantha Naicker                                  Shaheid Daniels
SAIPA Chairman                                 SAIPA Chief Executive