East Cape Master Builders Association: MBA Bulletin : 31 March 2020

As we enter day 5 of the National Lockdown we bring you some general information on what’s happening at the MBA albeit remotely.
As previously mentioned, we began working remotely last Monday and as a result all our departments are still active and only person to person contact and activities have been deferred.
New Members
We welcome the following new members into the association. It is good to see that even in these times companies are signing up to be members.
  • Coselela Building & Construction, PE, Linda Mtoba
  • D & L Trading, PE, Dirk van Reenen
  • Goavect (PTY) Ltd., PE, Lesley Ndlaleni
  • Mpondo Moss Trading,       PE, Nomampondomise Moss
  • Mullins Construction, PE, Craig Mullins
  • Plumrite Plumbers, Port Alfred, Vaughan Meyer
  • Scholtz Construction, PE, Johannes Scholtz
  • Silukhanyiso 271 Trading, PE, Siphiwo Taboshe
  • T G Lewis Builders, PE, Tyrone Lewis
  • Wilcote Transkei, Mthatha, Harold Kalala
  • Ziyeka Supplies & Projects, Komani, Wiseman Yabo
Subscriptions
We appreciate the prompt response of many of our members to the Associations Annual Subscription Invoices which were issued in early March. We are starting to issue updated membership certificates to members as and when payments are received. We have also kept increases to a bare minimum and appreciate the support of members as we continue to operate remotely to ensure that your interests are represented and to serve you as best we can.
Employees / Payment / UIF
There has been a lot of confusion about labour and employment issues arising out of the COVID-19, 21 day National lockdown and the MBA has published a number of articles via email and the News page on our website.
From a purely legal perspective we are governed by mainly two pieces of labour legislation namely, The Basic Conditions of Employment Act (BCEA) and The Labour Relations Act (LRA). Strictly in terms of these laws, employees are not entitled, by law, to be paid during the lockdown period if they are not working however the Department of Employment and Labour (DoL) has put out a plea to employers to consider paying the employees during the lockdown if payment is affordable. Many employers have chosen to structure payment solutions so as to ensure that the employees are protected during this time and such actions are fully endorsed by the MBA. These structured payments may have included paid or unpaid leave, staff loans, etc. Many would also have had to lay-off employees and with the limited information available at the time, send them to the UIF with the necessary forms to claim UIF benefits as indicated early last week.
During the course of last week, and as late as Friday, more clear information was provided as to how employers may seek assistance from a special benefit which has been created under the Unemployment Fund (UIF). This is based on a Directive from the Minister of Employment & Labour called “Covid19, Temporary Employee / Employer Relief Scheme (C19 TERS)” and a detailed article was sent to members on this yesterday afternoon.
Health & Safety Competition 2020
Entries for our Regional Safety Competition remain open as we have decided to extend entries until the end of April alongside the Subcontractor Safety Competition. Please continue to send in entries and ensure your site is compliant during and after this lockdown period. We will adjust the time for judging of the competition in line with developments around COVID-19 and advise accordingly.
Training
Our training activities including our CETA funded Projects have been placed on hold for now and will recommence as soon as it is possible and safe to do so. These include:
  • Trade Tests
  • 59 Apprentices
  • 48 Health and Safety Learnerships
We have applied for an extension for our WSP and ATR submissions. We will advise if and when this is granted but in the meantime we will stick to the normal submission date of 30 April 2020.
Company Details
Finally, do we have your correct company and contact details? Are the right people in your business receiving our communications?
Time to catch up on that “admin” and update your profile on the MBA website.
Steps to take:
Forgot password? Enter email address for details to be sent to you or if you are not the primary contact, ask Angelique on membership@ecmba.org.za
  • Edit Profile (yellow button)
  • Make your changes
  • Submit
Remember the Primary Contact should preferably be the Owner/Manager of the business.
Please keep an eye on the News Page of our website for all the latest news and updates regarding COVID-19.

From East Cape Master Builders Association: Employee Wages, UIF/CO19 TERS Update

On Thursday last week (26 March 2020 at 17:55) we issued a communication entitled “COVID-19 – Lockdown Update – Employees & Wages” In that communication we provided an update on what we had learned up until then. Fresh information on the interpretation and practical implementation of the regulations has been coming in slowly and we will continue to keep you updated as received.
On Friday morning we received further information on the formation of, and regulations relating to, the Temporary Employer/Employee Relief Scheme (TERS). In terms of the Gazette No 43161, Notice 215 of 2020, of 26 March 2020, the Minster of Employment & Labour has issued a Directive called “Covid19, Temporary Employee / Employer Relief Scheme (C19 TERS)” in terms of which a special benefit has been created under the Unemployment Fund (UIF). We have mentioned this before but this gazette formalises how employers who have lost income as a result of closing their businesses can apply to CO19 TERS for relief, encouraging them to continue to pay their employees rather than lay them off.
Understandably Government has had to put many measures I place in a short time and there may still be teething problems however it would appear that this will offer some relief to employers & employees at this time.
The Gazette covers the application process, provides a new email address for CO19 TERS Applications (Covid19ters@labour.gov.za) and is attached below.
The Department of Health’s COVID-19 website (sacoronavirus.co.za) also remains a useful source of information.
MBA Staff Contact Details:
Training – Craig – 083 231 8643
IR & Labour – Gerhard – 082 872 0611
Health & Safety – Diona – 071 887 3248
Membership/Documents – Angelique – 076 547 2204
Accounts – Rianna – 082 416 2549
Exec. Director – Greg Steele – 082 652 3139

Western Cape City & Province Updates in Light of COVID-19 Lockdown

Due to the extraordinary circumstances caused by the COVID-19 pandemic and the nationwide 21-day lockdown period, Minister Anton Bredell (Western Cape Provincial Minister of Local Government, Environmental Affairs and Development Planning) has, in terms of Section 47C of NEMA, extended all timeframes regarding NEMA and EIA regulations, for actions and processes affected by the 21-day lockdown period, by two months effective from 27 March 2020 to 26 May 2020.

The full circular in this regard as issued by Minister Bredell, can be accessed here.

The full protocol for the administration of EIA, AEL, WML and Section 24G applications and related formal enquiries/requests in the Western Cape during the 21-day lockdown can be accessed here.

In addition, Mayoral Committee Member for Spatial Planning and Environment, Alderman Marian Nieuwoudt, has released a statement confirming that the City’s Development Management Department will be assessing applications and writing reports from home during the three-week COVID-19 lockdown, but that resources are limited and unforeseen challenges may have an impact on turnaround.

All building plans, and development and land use applications should continue to be submitted via the City’s e-Services platform. It was also noted that the Municipal Planning Tribunal will not be able to meet during this time and therefore, no decisions will be made by the MPT until the lockdown is over.

The full statement in this regard as issued by Alderman Nieuwoudt, can be accessed here.

The WCPDF will continue to keep members informed of any relevant industry news during the lockdown.

Payment to Employees during COVID-19 Lock-Down

Easy-aid_guideline_and_uif_f

TERS-application-process.pdf

Please see the guidelines below to help you make decisions regarding payment and assistance of employees during the COVID-19 Lockdown.

Payment to Employees

  • One of the biggest concerns is that of the payment to employees. A lockdown is circumstances outside the control of the Employer and income will not be generated or it may be severely hampered during this time. Companies who can work remotely are encouraged to do so and must ensure that there are relevant policies and procedures in place to manage and regulate this arrangement.
  • The lockdown may lead to unintended consequences such as retrenchments/ layoffs  or reduced working hours. The Minister of Employment and Labour declared measures to help contain the spread of the COVID-19 virus. The Unemployment Insurance Fund (UIF) will compensate affected workers through its existing illness and reduced work time benefits. This applies to all employers that are registered with UIF and are in good standing as per the Contributions Act of 2002. It is a flat rate benefit of R3, 500 per month for the period of the lockdown up to a maximum period of 3 months. Thereafter it is calculated in terms of the normal UIF calculation and any future claim for UIF will not be affected.
  • The Temporary Employee Relief Scheme (TERS), to enable companies to pay employees directly during this period and avoid retrenchment and /or layoff is being investigated.  Further details are not yet available. However, the latest TERS document is attached for your perusal. See attached TERS Application process.
  • Other options available include a change in the builders shutdown period to coincide with this lockdown which may still give the employee an income. This may however be difficult to implement as companies may not have generated the revenue for the shutdown period this early in the year.
  • The option of special leave also exists which can be arranged between the employer and employee and this could be paid leave. Alternatively, a combination of annual leave and special leave may be negotiated in the circumstances.

COVID-19 Update from Mohau Mphomela- MBA North

In light of President Ramaphosa’s announcement of a national lockdown yesterday due to the COVID-19 outbreak we understand that members are looking for guidance on several issues including how to deal with labour during the 21 days and going forward. We are aware that all members are in different positions financially. We are not in a position to give a definite directive- just guidance. Although the industry is understandably in a panic state, the MBA-N cannot yet issue directives until we have a solid understanding of what measures government is introducing.

As we speak, directives are being issued by government. We should all rely on this information only.

We are certain that in a day or two the Dept of Labour will issue these directives formally.

Our understanding of the President’s speech last night is that employers get a 20% rebate on PAYE contributions. As stated by the president, he calls on larger businesses in particular to take care of their workers during this period to avoid the country deteriorating into anarchy. We will be keeping you informed on all the latest developments as they happen. Beware of fake news making rounds that construction will be operational. We have put together all the documents that will help you make decisions here. https://www.mbanorth.co.za/wp-content/uploads/2017/03/Critical-Business-Continity-Services-in-Covid19-Response.pdf.pdf

https://www.mbanorth.co.za/wp-content/uploads/2017/03/43107_18-3_cogta-Disaster-Regulations.pdf

https://www.mbanorth.co.za/wp-content/uploads/2017/03/Critical-Business-Continity-Services-in-Covid19-Response.pdf

https://www.mbanorth.co.za/wp-content/uploads/2017/03/Dept-of-Small-Business-Media-Statement-19-March-2020.pdf

https://www.mbanorth.co.za/wp-content/uploads/2017/03/How_To_HandWash_Poster.pdf

https://www.mbanorth.co.za/wp-content/uploads/2017/03/notice_on_compensation_for_occupationally-acquired-COVID19.pdf

https://www.mbanorth.co.za/wp-content/uploads/2017/03/OHSCare_COVID-19_Information_20200306.pdf

https://www.mbanorth.co.za/wp-content/uploads/2017/03/Toolbox-Talk-Corona.pdf

The Unemployment Insurance Fund will compensate affected workers through its existing Illness and Reduced Work Time benefits. Please take note of the following page on their website to assist you and your workers to claim. http://www.labour.gov.za/easy-guide-for-employers-on-covid19

We, in South Africa, have had the benefit of learning from what other countries (such as Italy, UK and USA) have done to flatten the curve and support the government in this decision- detrimental as it is to the economy. But we believe that if we work together to maintain calm, try to assist workers to claim benefits where possible and adhere to the shutdown we will see the end soon and begin to rebuild our economy.

What are we doing?

  • Regular educational emails and updates have been sent to our members on information as it is made available and we will continue to do so for the foreseeable future.  If you would like these mails to be made available to additional staff, please advise us of their email addresses and we will gladly add them onto our mailing list.
  • As of  26 March, our MBA North staff have been set up to work remotely until the shutdown is lifted.  In order that we remain available to you all, however, we are including our mobile numbers so that you have the ability to contact us, should the need arise:

Please take note of our WhatsApp Broadcast number and save it onto your phone as we will be sending notices constantly.

Name Position Cell Number email
Mohau Mphomela Executive Director 083 477 0242 mohau@mbanorth.co.za
Lizelle Pretorius Finance Officer lizelle@mbanorth.co.za
Boitumelo Thipe Marketing Manager 079 498 0848 boitumelo@mbanorth.co.za
Gerhard Roets Construction Health & Safety Manager 082 825 1179 gerhard@mbanorth.co.za
Sheilla Mofokeng Member Officer/ Member Liaison 0647524940 sheilla@mbanorth.co.za
Ashleigh Feeny CHS Administrator/ Reception 0827943777 ashleigh@mbanorth.co.za
Phumzile Ncgobo Education & Training Officer phumzile@mbanorth.co.za
Zenzele Mabuza Construction Health & Safety Officer 063 689 9590 zenzele@mbanorth.co.za
Manie Van As Construction Health & Safety Officer 0710348465 Manie@mbanorth.co.za
Duncan Ebersohn Construction Health & Safety Officer 0718950432 duncan@mbanorth.co.zo
  • We have cancelled all social events and training until further notice.
  • We are engaging daily with the BIBC and the Trade Unions to look at how to best address the needs of our members and will be communicating any progress in this regard as we reach outcomes.

New Information:

  • The Department:  Small Business Development has announced a Debt Relief Fund which SMME’s can register for in order to receive financial assistance with existing debts and repayments as a direct result of COVID-19.  We urge members who qualify to register for this fund which will open as of tomorrow, 24 March 2020.
  • Standard Bank have announced a 3-month payment holiday for their clients who are in good standing and have a turnover of less than R20m, as well as for students with student-loans.  Nedbank have similarly announced that they will review individual situations with their clients who are experiencing cash flow issues:

We continue to strongly urge all of our members to scrupulously observe the shutdown

If you believe that this information will assist anyone that you know, we welcome you forwarding this email to them.

UPDATE – NOW AT 554 POSITIVE CASES

Please take note of our WhatsApp Broadcast number: 071 189 6826 and save it onto your phone as we will be sending notices constantly.

* See publication by the Ministry of Health which includes the latest number of confirmed cases by Province as well as by age breakdown

 Our best wishes are with you, your families, friends and employees at this time.

Mohau Mphomela

Executive Director

 

The Master Builders’ Association (MBA) Health and Safety Competition

The COVID-19 pandemic has placed a spotlight on the health and safety concerns across all economic sectors, resulting in mass production shut-downs, travel bans and supply chain disruptions on a global scale.

In South Africa, where a large portion of the workforce use public transport and access to quality health care is scant, it is more important than ever to take extra precautions and evaluate workplace preparedness to ensure the health and safety of all employees and the general public. However, this has always been a key focus in construction. With stricter processes now being put in place to mitigate the effects of the pandemic, construction companies are encouraged to show their compliance to health and safety regulations within the industry.

The MBA Health and Safety Competition

The Master Builders’ Association (MBA) Health and Safety Competition, which is in the process of accepting entries, is an opportunity for all of its members to improve the standard of their health and safety systems and receive valuable feedback and assistance on where their systems fall short.

Participation in the competition is voluntary and signifies an applicant’s compliance with relevant legislation and best practices in the industry. It also shows a commitment to a health and safety-first approach. The competition allows member companies to benchmark their Health and Safety Management Systems’ compliance and implementation against other regional companies.

According to Deon Bester, Occupational Health and Safety Manager for the Master Builders’ Association Western Cape (MBAWC), “The primary objective of the safety competition is to establish our members’ compliance with the statutory regulations, as well as to promote competition, which will ultimately improve the overall health and safety of the workforce.”

The competition is open to all members of the MBA. “There are a number of categories based on the financial value of the project and this affords everyone an equal opportunity to enter the competition irrespective of the size of the company. The competition also has a further three categories, which enable manufacturers, builders, plant yards and any other allied trades to the construction industry to participate,” continues Bester. Entry is free of charge.

The competition extends over four months and uses the Master Builders South Africa (MBSA) audit system to judge each of the sites entered.

“The audit comprises a legal administrative section and a physical inspection of the site. There are 19 sections judged, including: fire risks and the management thereof; temporary electrical installations; machinery on-site; scaffolding and formwork; as well as support work, fall protection and staff welfare,” comments Bester.

The Master Builders Association Western Cape invites all applicable members to enter the Regional competition. Regional winners are declared for each category and go on to participate in the National competition. The sites are audited by independent auditors and winners are awarded trophies at a National gathering which will be held later in the year.

Entry forms are available to download here or you can contact the MBAWC offices directly. Entries for the Regional competition close on 27th March 2020.

For more information, visit https://www.mbawc.org.za/

COVID-19 National Lockdown

Last Night the President announced that South Africa will nationally lockdown for 21 days due to the rapid rising COVID-19 pandemic, starting from midnight on Thursday, 26 March 2020 until midnight on Thursday, 16 April 2020.
This extreme, but necessary measure, will have a considerable impact on people’s livelihoods, economically, financially and socio-economically.
Firms that are able to continue their operations remotely should do so.
The President also announced a special dispensation for companies that are in distress because of COVID-19.
RELIEF TO EMPLOYERS
A range of measures were announced in order to provide relief to employers and assist them to retain and pay their employees if possible.
Whats we know….
Wage Payment Relief:
Government “is investigating” using the Temporary Employee Relief Scheme (TERS), to enable companies to pay employees directly during this period and avoid retrenchment and /or layoff.
Details on this proposal are not yet available however the latest TERS Document is attached below and we suggest that you consider requesting application forms and prepare them for submission.
Temporary Tax Relief
Tax compliant businesses with a turnover of less than R50 million will be allowed to delay 20% of their pay-as-you-earn (PAYE) liabilities over the next four months and a portion of their provisional corporate income tax payments without penalties or interest over the next six months.
PAYE Relief
Using the tax system, relief “will be provided” by a tax subsidy of up to R500 per employee per month for the next four months for those private-sector employees earning below R6,500, under the Employment Tax Incentive.
It would appear that this relief will be paid back to compliant employers and will probably need to be claimed from SARS under PAYE.
Details are still to follow.
UIF & Skills Levy Constributions
Government “is exploring” a temporary reduction of Employer and Employee UIF and SDL contributions. Nothing clear on this yet.
SMME’s
The President stated that if need be, the reserves within the UIF system may be utilised to support those workers in Small, Medium Enterprises (SMEs) and other vulnerable firms who are faced with a loss of income and whose companies are unable to provide support.
Details will only be made available in the next few days.
Payment of employees:
The above measures have been announced with a view to retaining employees and minimising retrenchments and lay offs.
Employers who are not able to continue to pay their employees during this period of lockdown consider the following options:
  • Apply for reflief from TERS per the above;
  • Apply for PAYE relief;
  • Await details of UIF & SDL contribution reduction
  • Substitute annual leave for lockdown;
  • Consider temporary Lay-offs with UIF claim; (UIF Form below).
  • Afford short term loans to employees in lieu of wage payment.
Workers who work for reduced hours or a short time will be able to claim from UIF for lost hours:
  1. It is a flat rate benefit of R3500 per month for the period of the shutdown up to a maximum period of 3 months.
  2. If the shutdown lasts longer than 3 months, the 4 th month and thereafter, is calculated in terms of the normal UIF calculation,
  3. It will not affect any future claim for UIF
Claim Form (Employer to complete UI 19 & UI 2.7)
The employee and their bank to complete a UI 2.8 Form to have money paid into their bank accounts
Please see the attached EASY – Aid Guide fro Employers (Reduced work time benefits/Illness Benefits/Dependants benefits)
Employee Illness:
Any employee who falls ill with COVID-19 through exposure at their workplace will be eligible to claim from the Compensation Fund or FEM. Employers should assist employees with such claims through their respective COIDA Insurers.
CONCLUSION
It is clear that the President, government, social partners and business have remained lucid in coming together, making a proper and well-thought-through national lockdown possible, in stamping out the scourge of COVID-19.
We believe that the Building Industry will be particularly hard hit by these measures but we must do whatever we can to ensure our survival and the ongoing employment opportunities in our industry after COVID-19.
As the President said, “let’s be courageous, patient, and above all, show compassion in this period.”
The MBA will keep our members abreast on any new developments herein.
For any enquiries, please contact our office at (041) 365 1835 and/or e-mail us at ecmba@global.co.za. or for specific queries please contact our staff per below:

East Cape MBA Update

The first case of Covid-19 virus in South Africa was announced on 5 March 2020. The patient was a 38-year-old male who travelled to Italy with his wife. They were part of a group of 10 people and they arrived back in South Africa on March 1, 2020. Yesterday, 16 days later, we had 240 confirmed cases of the virus.
We in South Africa have the benefit of seeing what has happened in other countries including Italy, the UK and the USA and we must take full advantage of the warning signs we have been afforded. Our Government is taking this matter very seriously and we as citizens must all do what we can within our social and work spheres to support them and protect our country.
Our health services are not as robust as some the other countries which have preceded us and our people may be considerably more vulnerable. This makes it even more important that we try and stay ahead of the curve.
As an Industry we must do our bit to ensure that our workers are armed with accurate information on the virus and are also protected from infection. We must also be conscious of protecting all with whom we come into contact at this time.
Whilst the Government publishes rules and regulations it is often more important to address the spirit rather than only the letter of the laws or regulations and to go above and beyond to ensure the safety of all south Africans.
What are we doing:
As the Master Builders Association (MBA), our primary concern is for our people namely our MBA staff as well as our member companies and their staff. In this sense we are faced with a dual role as we both protect ourselves whilst providing advice and services relating to COVID-19 to our local building industry.
This is definitely not business as usual and it is therefore essential that we set aside some of our usual activities and services in order to focus on preparing and equipping ourselves and our members for what lies ahead.
Our Contracting members will be faced with difficult decisions in the coming days and weeks relating to the ongoing operations on their building sites and we will be doing everything in our power to ensure that they are kept well informed and equipped to make the right decisions as and when these times come.
Steps we have taken so far include:
  • The communication of articles and information to members;
  • Advice on protection of employees;
  • Preparation of information posters for members to access at a nominal cost;
  • Cancellation of social events and meetings to avoid person to person contact;
  • The limitation of staff travel and direct contact with members;
  • The cancellation of all air travel nationally;
  • The sanitisation of MBA facilities for both staff and visitors.
What we are doing to support our members?
  • We will be engaging with government around relief for our small businesses and their employees;
  • We will continue to advise members on Labour relations aspects;
  • Our Health & Safety team will provide advice on risk assessments and steps to slow the spread of the virus;
  • We are here to assist with queries on the contractual impact such as possible delays an suspension of works;
  • Our Training team will be considering how to retain certain training activities if possible whilst totally eliminating person to person contact.
Social Distancing:
At a recent Bosberaad, MBA representatives emphasized networking between members through both business and social interaction as one of the essential cornerstones of the MBA going forward. The main purpose being to create an environment where members can meet each other and benefit from the business connections made through their MBA membership. Whilst it is absolutely critical that we implement and exercise these resolutions urgently in order to sustain and grow our membership we are going to first and foremost have achieve this via social media rather than direct contact as we respond to COVID-19.
We must, without delay, implement social distancing in our MBA offices and in our dealings with members and the public. This must be done both to protect vulnerable staff, relatives, members and customers as well as to comply with Government regulations (The letter) and recommendations. (The spirit).
We intend to approach this with the minimal amount of disruption to our services to members although direct contact will need to be limited as far as possible.
Next Steps:
In order to implement social distancing we have taken the following decisions:
  • To actively plan for and institute a “Work from Home” situation as soon as possible;
  • To limit staff and member person to person contact to an absolute minimum and only for extremely essential services;
  • To suspend all social functions and meetings with immediate effect.
In conclusion:
We have all been bombarded with information on Covid-19 through various news a social media platforms however the MBA will continue to keep you updated with relevant Building Industry news, articles and information. This will be transmitted by Email, WhatsApp and various social media platforms and we urge you all to keep in touch with us through any of those mediums.
Please see the links below.
Sincerely
Greg Steele
Executive Director
Contact | Website | 041 365 1835 |

Corona Virus: What to do when an employee arrives on site and is showing symptoms

Source: Eastern Cape Master Builders Association

  • Take the employee aside and isolate him/her from the rest of the staff
  • Phone the COVID Hotline number 08000 299 99 or your local GP/IOD Centre
  • The GP or medical centre will then contact the NICD
  • The NICD will then handle the situation from there. They will collect the staff member
  • and get them tested.
  • If the employee is tested positive, the NICD will investigate further to see who they have been in contact with.
  • It is the employer’s responsibility to report the situation and control it until the NICD can arrive.
  • Do not transport the employee anywhere off site in company vehicles
  • Do not take the employee to a doctor or send them home to make their own arrangements