– Lia Snijman. Above: Dok and Bliksem with their masks. Photo: Francois Lombard.

The Stellenbosch Municipality’s speaker, Nyaniso Jindela of the DA, has tested positive for Covid-19. Two other senior municipal officials, according to sources close to the matter, went into self-isolation.

Stuart Grobbelaar, municipal spokesperson, confirmed that Jindela has Covid-19, but did not confirm that the other senior officials were in self-isolation, citing the privacy of the workers.Stuart Grobbelaar, municipal spokesperson, confirmed that Jindela has Covid-19, but did not confirm that the other senior officials were in self-isolation, citing the privacy of the workers.

Jindela was in contact with Senior Management on the second and third floor on the day of the council meeting last Wednesday (27 May), while he was not aware that he had Covid-19.

The workspaces have been decontaminated according to Grobbelaar.

Western Cape Government Protocol names 11 issues that need to be addressed in the case of a Covid-19 infection, or the possibility thereof:

  • Support must be given to the Covid-19 infected employee, including making sure that they can effectively self-isolate, have safe transportation and that they are in a stable mental state. If it looks like the Covid-19 infection arose because of/during work duties, then a workers’ compensation claim needs to be completed.
  • Support must be given to other employees, including screening them, offering psychological support and communicating clearly with them.
  • The Health Department and the Department of Labour and Employment must be informed, the Health Department can be contacted via the provincial hotline, 021 928 4102.
  • Establish how the employee became infected.
  • Identify who the employee came into close contact with, including other employees, visitors to the work site, regular customers, suppliers, people in their neighbourhood, people they travel with, people at social gatherings and family members. Ask an occupational health staff member of the company or a designated human resources person to help with contact tracing where possible.
  • Assist with tracing and quarantining people who may have been infected. The Department of Health will contact all the people, but if the company has an employee wellness service, they must assist the department.
  • Continue to screen employees to detect signs of possible coronavirus infection. Some may have been missed with the initial tracing, or not have shown symptoms yet, and screening must thus continue daily.
  • Take steps to avoid any future infections amongst employees, including cleaning all areas where the employee worked or visited in the work site.
  • Possibly close the work site, depending on the number of people infected, the size of the area that has to be cleaned, etc. This will be discussed with the Department of Health.
  • Re-open the work site if it, among other things, has assessed the circumstances that led to the employee’s infection, given full training to the employees on coronavirus prevention, and cleaned and disinfected all relevant surfaces and objects.
  • Clean the contaminated area while wearing heavy duty rubber gloves, face masks, visors or goggles, aprons, and closed shoes. Soap and disinfectant should be used. If soap and water cannot be used, a 70% alcohol solution must be used to wipe down surfaces.