Nelson Mandela Bay Business Chamber swings into action to avert humanitarian crisis

Internal joint operations initiative aims to co-ordinate a business response to the Covid-19 crisis in the metro

Nomkhita Mona, Nelson Mandela Bay Business Chamber CEO.
Nomkhita Mona, Nelson Mandela Bay Business Chamber CEO.
Image: Werner Hills

The Nelson Mandela Bay Business Chamber has swung into action in a bid to avert a serious humanitarian crisis. SA is one of the latest countries faced with a potentially devastating Covid-19 infection.

Covid-19 (also known as the coronavirus) has affected many countries all over the world. The first reported cases emanated from Wuhan, China, and quickly spread around the globe. 

As soon as the first cases were reported in the country, the Nelson Mandela Bay Business Chamber was on high alert. This is due to the effect the virus has had on the health and wellbeing of communities, and economies.

President Cyril Ramaphosa, declared the Covid-19 pandemic a national disaster and then announced a 21-day lockdown. The lockdown has since been extended until the end of April.

Soon thereafter, chaired by its president, Dr Andrew Muir, the Nelson Mandela Bay Business Chamber set up an internal joint operations committee (JOC) with its board members and participating businesses. The committee's objective is to co-ordinate the business response to the crisis.

If the trend in other countries is anything to go by, then it is expected that 60% of the Nelson Mandela Bay population of over 1.3-million will be infected. It must be noted that the Nelson Mandela Bay region would be a catchment area for the surrounding towns, including the Sarah Baartman area.

It is estimated that on the basis of the 80/15/5 percentage principle:

  • 80% of those infected would recover;
  • 15% are expected to require hospitalisation; and
  • 5% are expected to require intensive care, and some form of ventilators to assist with breathing. It is within this 5% where the highest risk of mortality lies.

When assessing the state of readiness should there be a major outbreak, it became clear that the metro would be hit by a tsunami. The local hospitals do not have sufficient capacity, nor the necessary medical and non-medical resources.

The Business Chamber mapped out a detailed plan within two days. The health plan was informed by a team of doctors, under the guidance of the lead doctor in the metro JOC, Dr John Black.

To execute this plan, more resources will be required — and businesses and citizens are urged to respond and get involved in and support the Nelson Mandela Bay Business Chamber’s efforts.

Many businesses have offered to volunteer time and donate a variety of goods and services, if and when it is needed.

The plans include assisting hospitals and identifying large available buildings to cater for spill-over patients. These would be kitted out with the necessary equipment and the required resources, including protective wear, are being sourced.

When the president announced a huge rollout of testing for Covid-19 — the metro has made various appeals to the provincial and national government and other funds to assist the metro.

Citizens are urged to adhere to all the guidelines as issued by the government as any delinquent behaviour in this regard can and will endanger many lives.

The Business Chamber is making a national appeal, regardless of whether one lives within the region or not — for financial contributions or otherwise.

For more information, e-mail

#We are in this together.

This article was paid for by the Nelson Mandela Bay Business Chamber.

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