A message from the CEO
The COVID-19 pandemic and the 21-day lockdown.
This is a time in a history like no other. Never in human history has our generation faced such a formidable threat such as this. It is an invisible enemy that threatens our very existence.
The COVID-19 pandemic is a global and national crisis, the likes of which we have never seen before. Our country has taken drastic measures to slow down the exponential rate in which the COVID-19 pandemic is spreading, with five deaths reported so far and more expected, and over a 1 300 confirmed positive cases. Aggressive action in the 21-day lockdown became necessary to ensure we save the lives of millions in our country.
The number of cases will inevitably rise as the days continue and they will rise even further as the weeks progress. What we know is that we do not have a cure, but our strategy as a nation is to learn from other countries and to employ the best strategies to fight this disease. South Africa, therefore, has been focusing on testing more people, conducting contact tracing measures and encouraging people to practice social distancing. We have had to curtail human interaction in order to reduce the transmission rates and to flatten the transmission curve. Through the 21-day shutdown, our government is prioritising the lives and health of South Africans. We have pressed the emergency stop button on normality so that we can achieve extraordinary results in reducing our mortality rates.
COVID-19 has also had devastating effects on jobs and economic activity in SA, the livelihoods of many people currently are at risk or will be lost. The full scale of the social, economic and political impact of this decision to lock down the country for 21 days is still to be felt; however, when we weigh it up against the lives we potentially might save, it is a price worth paying.
This indeed is a difficult and devastating time for our people. We have to keep our distance, we have to deal with fear, loss and great uncertainty on so many levels.
Despite the devastating impact of this virus on our lives, it has not broken our spirit. Our response during our darkest time is for our light to shine even brighter. We have to applaud the men and women who are selflessly putting their lives and bodies on the line every day to keep us all safe. We thank our essential services personnel, who are at the front lines of this war against this pandemic. Thank you for shining your light. As a nation, we must do our part by staying at home.
What does the COVID-19 pandemic and the 21-day lockdown mean for us?
There is an English phrase that comes to mind, which says: “Cometh the hour, cometh the man.” This simply means that when a time of crisis arises, the man/woman to lead in the crisis will arise as well. This phrase resonated deeply with what our company represents and stands for. So I tweaked the phrase and rather say: cometh the hour, cometh the company. I believe deeply in my heart that our 10 years of unrivalled fortitude and leadership, which is indelibly linked to our success, has prepared us for this very hour that we face. Our company, through the work it does, will provide the necessary leadership required to weather the storms of this crisis.
The 21-day lockdown does not mean a shutdown, nor does it mean downing our tools. The work we do in ICT, in keeping the nation connected, is vital; in fact, it has become more important now than ever before. We provide the important service of connectivity that ensures that while our people are standing still and staying home, we keep their work and country going and moving forward. We contribute to the lifeline of this country.
This means the health and community services, the police services, the army, teachers and lectures who are finding new and innovative ways to teach online, the people stocking our shelves and those serving customers, those in the broadcast services and all these essential services rely on us to keep working. They rely on us to enable them to remain connected. We are providing essential support for those who are in the front lines of this life-threatening pandemic.
Our state of readiness
The hour has indeed come and Maredi Technologies is ready and will be stepping up. We have worked tirelessly to build an efficient and effective health and safety department that will, in this time specifically, be dealing with coronavirus-related issues and information. In the time before the lockdown, we had started to train and educate our people about the virus and how to prevent transmission. Protecting our employees during this time is vital. We have put measures in place to ensure our people are able to clean their hands, vehicles and tools. We have purchased hand sanitisers, protective masks and gloves. We anticipated the lockdown and we put measures in place to ensure our office-based staff work seamlessly from home.
We therefore continue our office work remotely, we conduct meetings over Zoom, Skype and connect via Microsoft Teams. We have also augmented our communication with clients to manage expectations as this shutdown will inevitably impact timelines and deliverables. Our health and safety department is working alongside all our project managers, who will also be keeping a close eye and visiting sites regularly to ensure that our technicians adhere to the highest hygiene and health standards. We also have ensured access to equipment and products from our major suppliers for us to continue servicing our customers.
Our 21-day lockdown response
It is clear we need to change how we do things, but mostly, we need to be safe and we need to find creative ways to move our business forward. We need to come together by staying apart. We have therefore asked our office-based staff members to continue adhering to the national shutdown restrictions and they will continue to work from home until the lockdown is lifted. We do not know whether, after the 21-day lockdown, our country would have flattened the transmission rate curve. We therefore are developing contingency plans should the 21 days be extended. We need clear and decisive action at this time and we want to prepare for all eventualities.
For site technicians who form part of the essential services staff, the site work will continue as per normal. We know you will be away from your families, but remember you will see your families again. Maredi Technologies is grateful to you.
We will ensure all lines of communications remain open, especially with all department heads, so that all our people stay informed. We are also excited about the launch of our internal newsletter, which will feature as an important and key communication vehicle and tool for our business during this time and beyond. Please make sure you read it.
In closing, I know we are feeling scared and overwhelmed. But let me assure you, we will get through this and we will prevail. To all those living in the shadows of fear, you are not alone!
As Maredi Technologies, I hope to see more solidarity among us.
I hope to see us rise from the ashes of this crisis.
I hope to see us step up as we serve our great nation.
We are South Africans and I believe we will bounce back.