The COVID-19 pandemic continues to wreak havoc on people, businesses and communities across the
globe and in South Africa. RFG’s priority in the face of this is the safety and welfare of its employees
while maintaining a reliable supply of food products to the nation.
Prioritising the safety of our employees
Every precaution is being taken to safeguard our people and the workplace. We have put protocols in
place to ensure minimal business interruption in the unlikely event of a COVID-19 infection, which allows
us to continue supplying the nation with food products without stoppage. The following measures have
- We developed a detailed protocol, in accordance with guidance and regulations issued by the
National Institute for Communicable Diseases (NICD), Department of Employment and Labour (DOL)
and the Department of Health (DOH). The protocol details the importance of safe work practices such
as social distancing, wearing of appropriate protective gear, applying workplace sanitisation and
cleaning and personal hygiene practices.
- A Group Covid-19 Task Team was formed to prioritise our response to the disease. This team,
consisting of senior management, technical and operational executives, continually makes
recommendations in line with best practice.
- A mitigation protocol and checklists have been put in place at all sites. Compliance with the protocols
is overseen by the task team and is reported to the CEO;
- Across the Group we have identified the positions and functions that can be performed remotely to
ensure that as many people as possible stay at home and, to maximise social distancing for those
required to be physically present at the workplace. Visits to any of the sites by external people have
been prohibited unless absolutely necessary and duly authorised.
- High risk employees have been identified and appropriate measures have been put in place to
provide extra protection for these employees;
- Staff at all factories are provided with approved masks, hand sanitisers, and where necessary, face
shields, for additional safety and hygiene support;
- To ensure proper social distancing, staggered shifts have been implemented where possible, to help
limit the number of employees at work at any given time;
- We have implemented deep cleaning protocols across all factories and communal areas (such as in
the canteens, ablution facilities and change rooms) over and above the current food safety protocols;
- Health and temperature screening are conducted for all employees and persons visiting all sites.
RFG is working closely with the DOL and the DOH to ensure we follow best practice with regards to
employee and community safety;
- Support has been provided through our wellness programme to provide emotional and social support
to staff across the organisation;
- An awareness programme has been put in place on the Coronavirus, throughout the organisation.
This includes the distribution of educational material through verbal, print and digital communication
- Leave arrangements have been adjusted to cater for employees on short time or extended sick leave,
to minimise the financial impact on employees.
Providing financial relief for employees
RFG has created an employee assistance fund, funded by contributions from the company’s directors
and senior management, to financially support staff who are impacted by COVID-19 and are forced to
spend time away from work.
The CEO has contributed 50% of his salary for three months and the rest of the executive team has taken
a 30% reduction in their salaries for the same period. Board members have also contributed 30% of their
directors’ fees for the next three months. Senior managers are supporting the fund on a voluntary basis.
The employee assistance fund will ensure that employees continue to be remunerated, regardless of
whether they may be required to work reduced hours due to the lockdown. The fund is evidence of the
commitment of RFG executives and non-executives to ensure that employees and their families are
supported in this time of crisis.
Where seasonal employees may be financially impacted by COVID-19, RFG will support them by
applying to the UIF and Temporary Employer-Employee Relief Scheme (TERS) on their behalf.
Safeguarding the supply of products for our customers
RFG is committed to providing South Africa with a steady, reliable, uninterrupted and safe supply of food
products during the pandemic.
South Africans will continue to find their favourite RFG products on shelf throughout the lockdown period
and there will be no stock shortages. This is because we have a robust supply chain and ensured
sufficient stock levels. We have put contingency measures in place to answer the demand for our
products in the unlikely event of disruptions to our international or local supply chain.
At the same time, we continue to deliver on our quality and safety promises. According to the World
Health Organisation (WHO), due to the nature of the virus, it is extremely unlikely that food can be a
source or transmitter of the disease. The manufacturing process that all our products undergo ensures
that there is no risk of contamination should an employee test positive for COVID-19. All products from
our sites are certified for food safety and are therefore 100% safe to consume.
Furthermore, our factories are compliant with global safety best practices and observe strict regulations
and standards. Our products undergo and adhere to quality controls and regular assessments to ensure
that we only produce items in line with the highest safety standards.
What we are doing for our communities
RFG has committed R6 million to date to provide relief to vulnerable communities across South Africa
during the COVID-19 pandemic. We are working with community feeding schemes and organisations
such as Gift of the Givers, Food Forward SA, Meals on Wheels and others to provide food and hampers
to affected communities in the areas in which we operate.