Sasol in Society
City of Joburg officials standing during the handover of COVID-19 supplies by Sasol

The importance of partnerships and collaboration during difficult times

Collaboration is a popular “buzz” word that has been in the corporate world for decades. It is in challenging times that the meaning of this word is truly brought to life.  Through consolidated plans with government, the private sector and health departments, we have been positively contributing to reducing the spread of COVID-19 and flattening the curve.  This week we share more fantastic stories on how Team Sasol has supported our fenceline communities through innovative thinking and our unique collaborations.

INNOVATION THROUGH SCIENCE ON WHEELS

The original intent of the 12 mobile science labs which the Sasol Foundation donated to various partner institutions in South Africa was to support under-resourced schools with the teaching and learning of science subjects. These labs have now been repurposed to support Local District Health Departments with community screening and testing which contributes to the early detection of COVID-19.

By donating and repurposing our mobile science labs we are helping the National Health Laboratory Services (NHLS) achieve its target of 15 000 tests and screenings per day. This alleviates some pressure on the National Department of Health and actively contributes to early detection of COVID-19 in our fenceline communities thus preventing further infections and contributing to flattening the curve.

Together with our partners and beneficiaries we are reaching the areas outlined in the table below. Through our mobile labs our partner institutions also distribute the necessary Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) to the broader community around the testing locations. We are incredibly proud of this initiative and thank our partners who have not hesitated to assist in this time of need.

Secunda Chdmicals SVP handsover quarantine support resouces at Evander Hospital
Simon Baloyi, Senior Vice President: Secunda Chemicals Operations, Mrs Nana Hlatshwayo, Gert Sibande District Health Chief Director and Sasekani Manzini, Mpumalanga MEC for Health at the Evander hospital during the handover quarantine hospital support resources

INNOVATION MEETS DEMAND WITH POP-UP TESTING STATIONS

In addition to the mobile science labs, our Sasolburg Operations team provides gazebos for additional screening and testing between Zamdela and Sasolburg.  Community members have flocked to these stations where individuals are first screened before they are tested. Due to the associated risk, all the elderly members of the community are tested regardless of their symptoms.

In addition to the mobile science labs, our Sasolburg Operations team provides gazebos for additional screening and testing between Zamdela and Sasolburg.  Community members have flocked to these stations where individuals are first screened before they are tested. Due to the associated risk, all the elderly members of the community are tested regardless of their symptoms.

To support the need for testing in our fenceline communities, Sasolburg Operations set up an additional testing and screening station which moves between Zamdela and Sasolburg. Community screening and testing are proactive measures aimed at early detection and controlling the transmission of the virus. So far approximately 2 465 people have been screened and 787 tested at the pop-up screening station.

Itumeleng Mguza, the Fezile Dabi District’s Assistant Director of Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and Partnerships, shared: “The screening and testing partnership with Sasol and the Boitjhorisong Resource Centre (BRC) is crucial for the community as it will assist in the early detection and containment of COVID-19”.

The World Health Organisation has stated that it is essential to prioritise the care and safety of the elderly during the pandemic as they are particularly vulnerable. While health officials continued screening and testing, Rightwell Laxa, Senior Vice President: Sasolburg Operations, assisted on the ground by distributing cloth face masks to elderly members of the community. After seeing Rightwell in action, Councillor Lindiwe Tshongwe, Executive Mayor of the Metsimaholo Local Municipality also joined in, demonstrating that our actions can inspire others to do more.

Rightwell Laxa, Senior Vice President: Sasolburg Operations with Esme Young, Community Affairs Ikusasa Manager, distributing cloth face masks to elderly community members in Sasolburg.
Rightwell Laxa, Senior Vice President: Sasolburg Operations with Esme Young, Community Affairs Ikusasa Manager, distributing cloth face masks to elderly community members in Sasolburg.

TACKLING PRESSING PROBLEMS THROUGH INNOVATION

Our partner in Mozambique, Field Ready, recently hosted a challenge for young engineers to design a simple, practical and scalable ventilator in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. When the challenge was launched, there were only 34 ventilators in Mozambique and 75 in Ghana. We proudly sponsored one of the prizes for this innovation competition.

Sasol is one of the key partners of the Field Ready Programme in Mozambique which provides integrated skills development to students in the industrial sector in Mozambique, Nigeria and Ghana. We proudly sponsored prize money for the Field Ready ventilator design challenge in response to COVID-19. Mr Francisco Augusto, Senior Manager: Production Operations Mozambique, was part of the judging panel which reviewed the practicality and scalability of the ventilator designs submitted.

Overall 16 teams comprising of 56 engineers participated in the challenge with six teams from Mozambique and ten from Ghana. With competitors at home under pandemic restrictions, overcoming social distancing was only one element of the challenge as none of the participants had previous experience in ventilator design. Through this competition, Field Ready seized the opportunity to leverage the talents of its students to innovate and solve one of the most pressing problems that COVID-19 poses to their countries.

Team Marvel, a team of three young engineers from Ghana won the challenge. Their concept will now be developed and produced by an international manufacturer. Ms Patience Nortey, a member of Team Marvel said: “We saw an opportunity where we could put our engineering skills to use in order to solve a real need in our world today. Winning the competition is a testament to our hard work, collaboration and diligence; it is absolutely the best feeling ever!” When reflecting on the success of the challenge, Jack Pegram, Field Ready’s Managing Director, stated: “We have been amazed by the response of the Field Ready students – with some incredibly innovative designs. It makes us very proud to be helping these talented young people become engineering leaders of the future.” We echo these sentiments and were happy to provide US$250,00 to the winning team.

winners of the field ready challenge in Mozambique
Team Marvel. Source: Field Ready

MINING AND GOVERNMENT IN MOTION

Last week Ms Sasekani Manzini, Mpumalanga Health MEC, visited the Shondoni Colliery, at our Mining operations. The purpose of the visit was to thoroughly review Mining’s COVID-19 strategy as well as the onsite facilities for screening and testing.

Since the start of lockdown restrictions in South Africa, as an essential supplier of fuel and chemicals, our operations have functioned under the strict conditions of a critical service provider. Our Secunda Regional Operating Unit’s COVID-19 task force has diligently put in place the necessary plans, processes and precautions to prioritise the safety and wellbeing of our employees, suppliers and stakeholders.

On Monday, 18 March 2020, the Mpumalanga Health MEC, Sasekani Manzini, visited our Shondoni Mine in Secunda to review our level of compliance with the gazetted regulations. Following the inspection the MEC said: “We are happy with the systems that Sasol has in place in terms of entry into the grounds, making sure their employees go through temperature screening, maintaining social distancing, providing hand sanitisers, sanitising of facilities, their plan in terms of the quarantine process and making sure that their medical team is trained to recognise the symptoms of COVID-19”. The MEC scrutinised our mining operation’s strategy for COVID-19 screening and testing as well as the onsite facilities.

Ms Manzini’s positive remarks showcase our commitment to the safety and care of our employees. Congratulations to the Sasol Mining team on this very successful visit!

Sasekani Manzini, Mpumalanga Health MEC visiting our Shondoni mine in Secunda.
Sasekani Manzini, Mpumalanga Health MEC visiting our Shondoni mine in Secunda.

HELPING OVER 5000 SOUTH AFRICANS RETURN HOME

Sasol donated a million litres of jet fuel to the South African government, the donated jet fuel was used for the repatriation of stranded South African citizens, as well as delivery of medical supplies.

To date 5 239 South African citizens have returned home. The Department of International Relations and Cooperation’s Minister, Naledi Pandor said: “The donation of fuel from Sasol had enabled the government to use South African Airways – which is in business rescue – to conduct many flights to bring stranded South Africans home. ”The department also shared their appreciation by tweeting: “A special thanks to @SasolSA for their support during this difficult time as we work together to get South African citizens back home safely. Indeed, together we are stronger.”

Image from the Department of International Relations and Cooperation’s repatriation of South African citizens that were abroad.
Image from the Department of International Relations and Cooperation’s repatriation of South African citizens that were abroad. Source @DIRCO, Twitter

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