Dismally low new vehicle sales for the month of April highlighted just how much the country is suffering economically because of Covid-19 but, efforts to curb the virus carry on and Ford dealers have come to the party with a R1-million donation to support parent company, Ford, in making face shields.
Additionally, Ford suppliers and business partners have donated more than R900 000 to the project, which includes a substantial R600 000 from Absa, with which Ford has a joint venture in Ford Credit.
To date, 100 000 face shields have been produced at Ford’s Silverton Assembly Plant in Pretoria, primarily for donation to the Department of Health’s centralised distribution centre in Centurion.
“We are exceptionally grateful to the Ford National Dealer Council for joining this initiative and matching our contribution,” says Neale Hill, managing director of Ford Motor Company of Southern Africa (FMCSA).
Ward Huxtable, chairman of the Ford National Dealer Council, commented: “The coronavirus has had a dramatic impact on the country as a whole, and has severely affected the local motor industry. However, the Ford dealers recognise the need to stand together with all South Africans in fighting this common enemy, and we are committed to assisting Ford Motor Company of Southern Africa’s face shields project with the R1-million contribution on behalf of all Ford dealers in South Africa.”
Hill added: “Absa’s donation of R600 000 is greatly appreciated, as it will help fund thousands of face shields for the crucial health and essential services workers. Several of our other suppliers and business partners have also backed the project, contributing R300 000 thus far, which helps us expand our efforts to assist the South African government in limiting the spread of COVID-19.”
Sazini Mojapelo, Head of Citizenship, Absa Group Limited says: ‘We are pleased to extend a hand in the fight against the spread of COVID-19 and to assist in protecting our health care professionals on the front line. This is one of our key prorities at Absa as we battle this disease to ensure that those performing essential services including our own frontline staff, who are our heroes, continue to provide services to our customers during this difficult period.”
A total of 85 Ford employees and supplier company volunteers are involved in the production of the face shields, with Ford covering the cost of the labour for assembling the kits and the packaging process. All funds raised are used to purchase the face shield materials.
“Every contribution to this cause is valued, as it helps us address the critical shortage of personal protective equipment for doctors, nurses, paramedics and other front-line personnel during this health and humanitarian crisis,” says Ockert Berry, VP Operations, FMCSA. “We are still striving to reach our goal of donating 500 000 face shields, and welcome any donations, big or small, from business and the general public to help achieve this objective.”
The face shields are manufactured to global health standards, using a clear polyethylene sheet, polyurethane foam padding and a headband so that it wraps around the user’s face, providing protection for the eyes, nose and mouth against the spread of the coronavirus. Clear instructions are provided on how to wear the shield correctly, along with cleaning and storage guidelines. They are designed to be reusable, and sanitized after each use.
The teams work according to strict COVID-19 health and personal hygiene guidelines, and are screened regularly for coronavirus symptoms. They are required to wear latex gloves, face masks and the face shields, and maintain appropriate social distancing at all times.
Ford has partnered with the Gift of the Givers Foundation, which has kindly provided the banking facility for all donations, which can be made as follows:
Account Name: Gift of the Givers
Institution: Standard Bank
Account number: 052137228
Branch Code: 057525
Deposit Reference: Ford
Any queries regarding making donations can be e-mailed to: firstname.lastname@example.org, using the reference: Ford SA COVID-19.
Additional companies that have contributed to the project through donations of products, services or financial contributions of R20 000 or more include:
– Steelbank Gauteng
– Dana Spicer Axle South Africa
– Design Group
– Hesto Harnesses
– Thai Summit
– RMAA South Africa