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Sunday, 17 May 2020
Dunlop Tyres SA


Dear Colleagues, Partners and Stakeholders,

In the last week, Sumitomo Rubber SA (Sumitomo Dunlop) received results from the Laverna Medical Centre in Ladysmith of four staff that entered the company who have tested positive with COVID-19. This, after less than two weeks of reopening in Level 4 lockdown status.

In light of this, we worked very closely with the Department of Employment and Labour (DoL) and have come to a decision to close the Ladysmith site for the next seven days. We have begun working on extended measures in our protocols and will do this with the Department of Health (DoH), as we have determined that these cases did not display the common symptoms at the time of testing and screening. Broad prevention of the virus is possible and necessary, however, predicting the virus is near impossible.

Both departments have also been very proactive in their investigations and expressed satisfaction with our response and timing to the incidents.

As much as we have planned screening and prevention methods for what we know about the virus and the transmission, we have found that greater measures need to be taken into account.

As soon as we were notified of all four cases, contact tracing was done and all relevant employees have been self-quarantined, and are undergoing testing. The plant also initiated disinfection and sanitization, with great care being taken to ensure that all hygiene protocols and activities are addressed for further prevention and detection in the factory. This was in addition to the current disinfection and sanitization protocols already implemented.

The current status with our staff in Ladysmith:

  • 4 cases positive;
  • 13 direct contacts in quarantine - (6/13 test results are negative thus far and 7/13 pending).

The company clinic has been very quick and attentive to the situations we have faced and thus far the screening measures have proved effective in identifying where testing is necessary.

In the coming week, we will be working with DoL and DoH to establish the new enhanced measures in order to ensure that the health and safety of our employees remain paramount.

The company has conscientiously closed operations in Ladysmith for the next seven days and will assess its readiness to reopen at the end of the coming week.

In many ways, we have all been affected by COVID-19. Our top priority has always been the wellbeing of our employees, partners, customers and communities.

Safety is one of our five salient ‘Reasons to Believe’ foundational principles. It is a core target for Sumitomo Dunlop and is embedded in all that we do. Therefore, we will always continue to drive our efforts in ensuring the utmost safety for our employees whilst at work; and will continue to take all precautionary measures necessary to curb the spread of the virus at all cost.

Thank you again for your continued support.

Stay Safe!
Asivikelane! Let’s Protect Each Other!

Warm Regards,

Riaz Haffejee

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