We have just concluded another excellent meeting of the Essential Sectors. The following key issues are of relevance for the Forestry and Forest Products Sectors.
The SA Maritime Safety Authority notice, which we circulated earlier today, is being crafted into regulations, to compel Transnet and shipping agents/lines to abide by its provisions. This will alleviate the multitude of problems which have arisen first from ports and rail being selective in which commodities they have been allowing into and out of the country and which problems have been compounded first by reduced capacity at these facilities and subsequently by the Force Majeure declaration by TPT. Neither Transnet nor shipping agents are willing to implement the SAMA notice, until it is effected in regulations. We hope that these will still be published today.
As already reported, we have succeeded in getting exemption for forestry and forest product producers, who produce products which support the food, health and hygiene sectors and such businesses can continue with operations provided they adhere to the controls stipulated in the regulations. In this regard, below please see the guidance to business, which should be used by members and contractors/service providers, to respond to any further challenges from the security forces of even local traffic enforcement agencies.
The challenges which some of our members have been encountering with cross-border movement of timber have been resolved and we would like to acknowledge the key role of DEFF in this regard. The acting DDG: Forestry has been instrumental in addressing this specific issue and members are urged to contact Francois Oberholzer or Michael Peter, if further problems of this nature are encountered.
The issue around enforcement agencies still requiring masks and gloves to be worn is being addressed as the health sector cannot secure enough of these for the provision of critical health services and the erroneous insistence by enforcement agencies and employees must have this PPE is exacerbating the problem for the health sector.
More updates will be provided as they become available.