Covid-19: Let us still play it safe - Thulas Nxesi

Health and safety of workers remain a priority for our labour market, says Minister

Lifting of remaining Covid-19 pandemic protocols welcomed – “let’s play it safe”: Employment and Labour Minister, Nxesi

23 June 2022

Employment and Labour Minister Thulas Nxesi has taken notice of the lifting by Health Minister Joe Phaahla of the remaining Covid-19 protocols.

Nxesi said the Department of Employment and Labour supports the intention. However, Nxesi cautioned that the lifting up of the remaining Covid-19 protocols does not mean employers must “adopt a cavalier attitude towards health and safety in their workplaces”. 

Health Minister Phaahla has announced the lifting of mandatory use of masks as well as removal of restrictions on gatherings as South Africa experiences low Covid-19 infections and related deaths.

“The health and safety of workers remain a priority for our labour market. The Code of Practice on the Management of Exposure to Sars-Cov-2 in the Workplace remains the guiding principle on matters of health and safety in the workplace and is still the responsibility of all leaders to design an inclusive environment that promotes safety and makes workers comfortable in the workplace,” Nxesi emphasised.

The Code provides a guide to employers and workers as to what are reasonably practicable measures in managing SARS-CoV-2 (the Covid virus). Hazardous biological agents, of which the SARS-Cov-2 is one, are regulated by the Regulations for Hazardous Biological Agents. 

This Regulation places a statutory obligation on employers to conduct a risk assessment to determine measures to limit infection and, transmission and mitigate the risk of serious illness or death of an employee or other persons who may be directly affected by the activities of the workplace, such as visitors, customers, and contractors. 

Statement issued by Teboho Thejane, Department of Employment and Labour, 23 June 2022