The impact of the Coronavirus on Tiger Brands’ manufacturing capability has been minimal thus far. We are monitoring the spread of the virus and its impact very closely, and at this stage, we do not believe that there is a major threat to the availability of food in the country or our ability to produce food over the coming months.
As a key contributor to food and nutrition security in South Africa, we have agreed with business and government to ramp- up our manufacturing capability to the extent possible during this time. Our intention is to work with our retail partners to ensure that they have sufficient buffer stock in all regions to mitigate any potential risks to supply over the coming months, particularly if the current global situation persists or the situation in South Africa deteriorates. Ensuring the safety of our employees so that our factories can remain operational, is key. As a result, we have implemented the following measures across all our factories and sites:
- Increased health screening and testing for all our staff and contractors at each factory;
- Given an option to those employees whose roles enable them to work from home to do so;
- Changed our visitor and meeting protocols to encourage social distancing by using technology;
- Changed our leave policy to support employees who may require quarantining and isolation;
- Instituted a travel ban for in and out-bound travel and supported staff with critical information for their personal travel;
- Implemented deep cleaning protocols across all factories and sites over and above the current rigorous hygiene and safety protocols in place;
- Brought-on additional support through our wellness service provider to support staff across the organisation;
- Amplified and enhanced health & safety awareness around Coronavirus across the organisation.
Tiger Brands currently provides food every day to 77 000 children through the Tiger Brands Foundation; 30 000 community beneficiaries through our NGO partners and 4500 university students. We intend to continue this support to these already-vulnerable community beneficiaries and are engaging the relevant government departments to assist in this regard, so as to still comply with the guidance provided by the President.
We would encourage all South Africans to remain calm and to avoid panic buying. Empty shelves create a psychological fear which drives further panic. While it may take a few days for retailers to replenish their stocks, this does not necessarily mean that there’s a shortage of food or essentials in the country. This is the time for all South Africans to unite as we face these challenges together.