Tongaat formulates Covid-19 continuity plan

SUGAR producer Tongaat Hulett has developed a business continuity plan (BCP) premised on the worst case scenario where the lockdown period is extended for a long period, resulting in highly disruptive consequences for its operations.

MTHANDAZO NYONI

As part of its risk mitigation strategy against Covid-19, the company, in its latest special trading update, said it had developed a robust BCP premised on “the worst case scenario that the pandemic may take a turn for the worst and that the lockdown period maybe extended for most of the season with highly disruptive consequences for the business”.

The key considerations that have been factored into the BCP included adequacy of critical supplies for the duration of the lockdown; contingency plans to enable certain groups of employees to work from home; infrastructure requirements including information technology hardware and software required to ensure continuity of operations for critical employees working from home.

BCP also includes protocols for closing a site, sanitisation and restart of the site in the event of an employee infection; financial planning for resources required to address coronavirus-related interventions; succession and critical skills plans in the event that a significant number of skilled staff are incapacitated by the virus in both the short and long term; ongoing communication with the key stakeholders and contributions to protect local communities from the pandemic.

Due to the special dispensation granted to the company as an essential service provider, Tongaat Hulett said the production and marketing of sugar in the local and export market is progressing as planned.

“The demand for sugar in the local market has remained strong. As a result, the company is adequately funded and is able to meet its working capital requirements,” it said, without stating the figures.

The sugar producer said it has not, to date, experienced major disruptions to its operations with all key activities that include sugarcane maintenance, harvesting, sugar packing and distribution operations progressing satisfactory.

To date, the company has invested a total of ZW$13 million in Covid-19 mitigation measures in the workplace. It has donated 150 000 litres of ethanol worth ZW$4 million to the government as well as ZW$6 million to Masvingo province for the procurement of surgical gloves, masks and other critical equipment.

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