RFG Holdings – Timeline Of Covid-19 Related Events

  1. 11 March
    World Health Organisation declares COVID-19 a global pandemic.
  2. 13 March
    RFG issues groupwide communique to all operations outlining detailed precautionary measures
    to be taken against the spread of Covid in the workplace and to keep employees safe.
  3. 15 March
    Declaration of a national state of disaster by the State President.
  4. 16 March
    RFG constitutes a Group Covid Task Team to mitigate against the risk of the spread of Covid in
    the workplace and to manage any Covid related incidents.
  5. 18 March
    RFG implements a mitigation protocol and checklist for all sites to prevent the spread of Covid
    and keep employees safe.
  6. 26 March
    National lockdown commences. RFG issued with a CIPC certificate to conduct essential services
    as a food manufacturer during the lockdown.
  7. 30 March
    The Chief Inspector from the Department of Employment and Labour (“DOL”), Western Cape,
    inspects RFG’s Tulbagh site and approves the Covid mitigation measures in place.
  8. 16 April
    The first Covid related death reported in the town of Tulbagh. RFG isolates any employees who
    were classified as close contacts of the deceased.
  9. 17 April
    RFG launches an employee assistance fund through donations by directors and management to
    assist employees not able to work during the lockdown due to plant closures (refer to
    announcement dated 23 April on RFG website news).
  10. 21 April
    RFG head office management meets with Department of Health (“DOH”) inspector to review
    internal Covid protocols.
  11. 21 April
    RFG Tulbagh management team meets with the DOH to discuss mitigation protocols and
    prevalence of Covid in the Witzenberg municipal district.
  12. 22 April
    First positive Covid incident relating to the Tulbagh factory. A third-party technician based on
    site was confirmed as Covid positive. RFG notified the DOH and DOL.
  13. 22 April
    First positive Covid case of an RFG Tulbagh employee. The employee had last been on site on 8
    April. RFG informs DOL and DOH and conducts screening of employees and deep cleaning of
  14. 23 April
    Chief Inspector of DOL, Western Cape, confirms to RFG Tulbagh General Manager that there is
    no legal requirement for third-party cleaning following Covid incidents and requests copies of
    RFG’s cleaning protocols and proof of cleaning which were sent on 24 April.
  15. 23 April
    RFG introduces enhanced screening by a third-party NGO, NORSA, recommended by the DOH.
  16. 24 April
    As a result of the screening process a number of employees sent for Covid testing.
  17. 29 April
    Second positive employee case confirmed from community screening. Employee had last been on site on 21 April.
    A second positive case of a third-party technician confirmed. He was in isolation at the time. RFG was informed by the DOH and RFG in turn informs DOL.
  18. 5 May
    Three further positive cases confirmed. Their last working days had been 22, 23 and 29 April. Two of the cases were detected from internal screening and one from community screening. RFG followed its incident management protocol.
  19. 5 May
    An employee who had been tested positive but had not shown symptoms of the virus for a period of 14 days returned to site. The employee was sent home until she could produce a negative test result, as per the DOL directive.
  20. RFG receives confirmation of the death of two employees. Neither were confirmed as Covid related cases. One of the employees had last worked on 5 February and had resigned due to non-Covid related health issues.
  21. 7 May
    RFG receives confirmation of the death of a third employee. The cause of death has not been confirmed but unconfirmed reports are that it was due to a heart attack.
  22. 7 May
    RFG receives test results conducted during the week of 27 April, with 14 negative and 4 positive results.
  23. 7 May
    One of the four Covid positive employees referred to above, who had been in isolation following testing positive, returned to work despite having been instructed to the contrary. RFG sent the employee home, screened all close contacts and closed production. Deep cleaning was conducted by both RFG and a third-party. Following the cleaning RFG commenced certain operations with a greatly reduced staff complement.
  24. 7 May
    RFG receives confirmation from Cape Winelands environmental health practitioner that its internal cleaning protocols meet Covid requirements.
  25. 8 May
    The DOL visits the site to investigate the matter of the returning employee mentioned above. It was decided that the plant would be closed completely and a further deep clean carried out by a third-party before operations can re-commence.
  26. 9 May
    Deep clean of the factory undertaken by third-party service provider.
  27. 12 May
    DOL approves reopening of the factory and confirms that RFG’s internal cleaning protocol meets DOL requirements and that it is therefore not necessary to use an external cleaning company in the event of a positive Covid-19 case in the factory.
  28. 13 May
    Factory reopens with operations being resumed on a phased basis to protect employees and provide a safe working environment.

Summary of Covid-19 situation at Tulbagh facility:

  • Number of current employees – 1 440
  • Employee attendance at Covid information sessions – 1 071
  • Employees screened on site – 727
  • Number of employees sent for testing – 32
  • Number of positive cases for employees – 9
  • Number of positive cases for third-party technicians – 2
  • Number of deaths – 3 (none of which have yet been confirmed as Covid related)