Source: Bizcommunity |

South Africa not taking lockdown lying down: A 360 Industry Overview

Big business in South Africa should continue communicating during this time of crisis

We hope that the predictions by trend authority Bronwyn Williams that business empathy will be the new face of "kind capitalism" will become the new normal

JOHANNESBURG, South Africa, April 27, 2020/APO Group/ --

The second of Bizcommunity’s ( 360 overviews, showing SA business communities putting the grit in integrity to meet the unique economic and health challenges caused by Covid-19 in our region.

Former media and crisis communications manager at SAB and AB InBev, Azure Fey shared that ‘big business in South Africa should continue communicating during this time of crisis’. Following are some of the companies and organisations publishing valuable nation-building information from 19 industry sectors.

First up, we are justifiably proud of the report ranking South Africa second in the world as the country with the most reliable Covid-19 news, according to the infodemic risk index, which apparently takes into account the average amount of Covid-19 related content posted daily and the truth reliability of native news.

The explosion of pivotal activity continued across all SA sectors, with events such as the 10th SA Radio Awards one the most recent to migrate to digital and PR industry body PRISA announcing the virtual Prism Awards will take place May 16, 2020, at which Bizcommunity looks forward to being a media partner of choice.

As lockdown extension measures issued by SA President Cyril Ramaphosa on 9 April 2020, continued, the word of the week was ‘pivot’, as we saw even more companies implementing strategic, operational and managerial turnabouts. We hope that the predictions by trend authority Bronwyn Williams that business empathy will be the new face of "kind capitalism" will become the new normal.

Covid-19 news from our Bizcommunities and Press Offices:
Valuable lessons came in from senior management of SA’s advertising industry and other sectors on managing teams, time and events remotely. Biz Press Office holders Mann Made shared exciting V-Hive virtual event innovation and Multi-Media, #WTF - what the future - of events might look like after lockdown.

On the consumer insights front, Kantar's Dr Sibongile Vilakazi’s article on customer experience in the age of #Covid-19, received great reader responses as did their Business Impact Survey.

The Loeries, SA's premier advertising awards, is now literally a free-for-all, as the industry body announced free entry to the 2020 awards, a unanimous board decision across Africa and the Middle East, in response to Covid-19 conditions. No excuses!

With a firm footprint in sub-Saharan Africa, Biz Press Office partners Dentsu Aegis Network shared info about the Dentsu Data Labs Intelligence Centre launch, set up to assist brands in planning and decision-making through the Covid-19 crisis; executive director at ReimagineSA, Luvuyo Madasa, urged commiting to active citizenship in times of crisis; and Henley Business School shared valuable intellectual capital on building businesses that build Africa.

We were sad to publish the many agri events that were cancelled or postponed to prevent the spread of the coronavirus, but hope this may lead to new, fruitful collaborations with above mentioned virtual eventing and other B2B solution providers; agricultural news and lifestyle platform, Food For Mzansi, in partnership with Grobank, offered a free webinar on the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic on food systems, food security and agricultural livelihoods; and John Hudson, National Head of Agriculture Nedbank Business Banking, shared insights on unlocking the potential of SA's agri sector.

Among other sector stories, Ford Motor Company of Southern Africa (FMCSA) announced commencement of production of protective face shields to be donated to front-line medical and essential services personnel.

CSI & Sustainability:
Companies doing good and sharing good included Press Office publishers Matriarch on virtual volunteering, Trialogue’s release from Noxolo Hlongwane Head of Nedbank Private Wealth Philanthropy Office on the value of crisis philanthropy; and Adverb publishing on behalf of SA Harvest’s Cape Town and Johannesburg food rescue initiatives.

Webinars and online learning solutions proliferated and the story of the brainchild of Africa Teen Geeks (ATG), proactively approaching SA’s Department of Basic Education (DBE) with their Lockdown Digital Classroom project solutions definitely seems on track!

Energy & Mining:
Hot news was the Afrika Umoja initiative from Cape Town’s temporary architecture specialists, HOTT3D, partnering with pan-African energy event organiser, Africa Oil & Power to build temporary hospitals, clinics and homeless shelters to combat coronavirus; you can also head to Webber Wentzel’s podcasts on South Africa's mining sector in lockdown and the future in a post-Covid-19 economy.

One of the most solid of solidarity sectors saw organisations such as Giving For Hope Foundation (GFHF), a group of businesses, led by Willowton Group and Al Baraka Bank, joining forces to throw a lifeline to SMMEs; the publishing of Adclick Africa’s white paper - the SME Landscape Report: An Assessment of South Africa's SME Landscape: Challenges, Opportunities, Risks & Next Steps' 2018/2019; Edge Growth’s survey allowing government and corporates to get an accurate picture of the Covid-19 impact; and GoDaddy EMEA’s tips for SME’s on staying connected with customers through a pandemic.

Finance & Insurance:
Thanks to Press Office partners FMI Insurance for sharing what you might need to know about Covid-19 income protection; financial and strategic advisory company Fluence Capital’s pro-bono support for South Africans facing the potential losses due to Covid-19 lockdowns; Christine Rodrigues, partner at Bowmans for whether lockdowns will lead to permanent regulatory reforms in the SA insurance sector; while over at Brightspark’s Press Office, financial service providers were invited to attend FICO® Virtual Event – Building Resiliency, aimed at helping leaders manage operations, customers and new fraud scams in the current crisis.

From Press Office of North-west University (NWU) came encouraging news about how their Covid Agile Manufacturing Solution Response Team is addressing medical device development and rapid manufacturing solutions for local healthcare systems and Covid-19 challenges; Bonitas Medical Fund’s announcement of the extension of free virtual medical consultations to all South Africans; Havas Johannesburg’s release on behalf of leading global mobility client Michelin, announcing 10 European plants set to launch production of medical masks and visors from April 2020; Meltwater’s market intelligence analysis report; and publishing partners Cipla’s collab with local comedian Tumi Morake to provide light-hearted lockdown relief.

HR & Management:
Catch up with Matthew Kibby, VP, Services, Sage Africa & Middle East on modifying your hiring strategy during Covid-19; CareerJunction on filling medical vacancies during the Covid-19 crisis; CEO & co-founder of Promise Group’s analysis of what we might do with “our big shiny office spaces” post-Covid; and directors at Werksmans Attorneys, Bradley Workman-Davies and Jacques van Wyk explaining the implications of SA UIF TERS benefits regarding enforced annual leave.

As part of #TheLockdownSeries, Biz ITC editor Evan Lee Courie goes behind the scenes with Argility Group's Tanya Long on lockdown preparation tactics, the impact on operations and employees and lessons to take into the post-Covid-19 era; news on how lockdowns and working remotely increased pressure on SA’s internet traffic; ransomware, Zoom security, privacy and protecting web conferences are also in there.

For many branches of the law it’s biz as usual, keeping on top of medical, retail, rental and other contractual matters. Catching the wave of virtual team management, senior advisor at Webber Wentzel, Giles White advised how robust corporate governance is more important than ever during these extraordinary times; consultant in litigation at Bowmans, Stephanie Esterhuyse, that telemedicine has been an area fraught with regulatory pitfalls, even while often providing a lifeline for practitioners and patients during these times of social distance and self-isolation. Other lockdown news included calls from lawyers urging the justice minister to re-open more courts, the backlash on the ban on the sale of hot food; government’s guidelines for spaza shop trading and the new certificate required by essential services businesses.

Head to Bizcommunity’s Lifestyle section for daily examples of heroic philanthropy in the hardest of hit arts, theatre, hospitality and music industry sectors, such as SA chefs coming to the table to help the most vulnerable during lockdown; Press Office holders HaveYouHeard’s launch of a new platform harnessing QR technology to help SA performers and music artists generate income while live streaming; Business and Arts South Africa (BASA) Supporting Grants programme extended to provide support for South African performance artists infected or affected by the Covid-19 pandemic; and new non-profit organisation, SAFE FUND, launched to raise relief funds for the music industry (among the hardest hit due to Covid-19), among other heartwarming news.

Logistics & Transport:
Supply chains remain vital to food security and delivery of medical supplies across Africa, as does the increased demands for produce delivery. We watch this space as both local and international import and export markets and distribution channels continue to shift and churn.

Some key stories from Biz Property portal - the South African Institute of Black Property Practitioners (SAIBPP) CEO, Vuyiswa Mutshekwane’s 11-point plan to rebuild property sector and economy post Covid-19; CEO BetterBond’s Carl Coetzee contextualising the recent announcement by the governor of the SA Reserve Bank, Lesetja Kganyago of a further drop in the repo rate by 100 basis points to 4.25% per annum, taking the prime lending rate down to 7.75%; RE/MAX Housing Report reflecting the state of the South African housing market; and Press Office partner Private Property offering advice on home insurance claims during the lockdown new reality.

In the retail sector, encouraging news continues to flow in, with South African packaging manufacturer Mpact Versapak, announcing they are pivoting production in response to urgent market need for face shields; South African meal kit delivery service UCook’s Food Fund to help South Africans in need; Clicks Group the latest large SA retailer to announce the donation of a portion of senior management's salaries towards the fight against the Covid-19 pandemic; and a drive-through shopping service from SA multi-national, Woolworths. Retail Futurist Howard Saunders lent his view on whether Covid-19 will bring about a retail apocalypse; MD at Everlytic JD Engelbrecht noted that SA's email lockdown open rates were higher than Black Friday month; and Borderless Access’ published a report on SA consumers’ top Covid-19 pandemic concerns.

From the business-to-business tourism sector, City Lodge shared the financial status and impact of Covid-19 on the hotel group's operations; the regional director for Africa of international hotel group Minor Hotels, Mark Havercroft foresees Africa at the forefront of future hospitality investment post-Covid-19, based on the continent's resilience to tragedy through years of experience, a natural optimism and burgeoning population growth that sets the continent apart. The team behind the @southafrica Instagram account announced the launch of This is South Africa website, where everyone can start posting images and planning post-lockdown road trips; and Domestic Flights South Africa’s posted a piece on post-lockdown business travel risk.

Virtual communities, real business:
Although forced to physically distance, in so many instances business is coming together in solidarity and allegiance more than ever. We are honoured to be able to provide these valuable multi-industry overviews, showing that SA business is definitely not taking lockdowns lying down, but rising to meet challenges despite many pre-existing socio-economic conditions.

Thank you to our business communities for staying home, staying healthy and staying connected on Biz.

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