Isuzu Motors South Africa was at the forefront of collaborating with the local business sector in supporting the Covid-19 pandemic in Nelson Mandela Bay. This came about as a direct result of the doctors who were leading the health crisis approaching organised business (The Nelson Mandela Bay Business Chamber) to provide critical assistance.
At the end of March (during the hard lock-down) Isuzu undertook the task of renovating the Livingstone and Provincial Hospitals to increase capacity to accommodate COVID-19 patients who would require screening, testing and hospitalisation.
Given the rapid surge in Covid-19 numbers and urgent need to start receiving patients, our team had only eight days in which to complete the renovations. Isuzu’s plant maintenance team therefore ended up working around the clock to deliver refurbished medical facilities at the Port Elizabeth Provincial and Livingstone Hospitals.
The renovations done at Livingstone Hospital resulted in increased capacity of an additional 135 beds for COVID-19 patients as well as additional cleaning facilities, extra gas points and more ablution facilities.
Isolation facilities were created next to each ward to allow medical staff to change and sanitise before entering. Oxygen and vacuum equipment were serviced and additional points were added to increase the provision of oxygen to the extra beds as well as the existing beds. Over a hundred broken windows were replaced and screens and curtains were hung in the wards.
The Provincial Hospital was refurbished to accommodate 25 beds to serve as a transfer location for COVID-19 patients.
The dedicated efforts of the Isuzu team resulted in the saving of countless lives.
Storage and distribution hub for medical supplies
We quickly realised that in order to encourage other businesses to get involved in donating medical supplies to support the hospitals, we would need to develop an accountable solution for transparent and efficient storage and distribution of these items.
We therefore took the decision in April 2020 to turn Isuzu’s Vehicle Conversion and Distribution Centre at Markman Industrial Area into a centralised logistics and distribution hub for medical supplies. Through the assistance of our logistics service provider DSV and the use of our Isuzu trucks we controlled supplies which were donated by local businesses, stock for the VWSA Field Hospital ,SPIRE and Solidarity Fund donated supplies and later even the Eastern Cape Department of Health opted to store their supplies at our facility
On 10 May, these supplies were moved to the DSV facility next to our Struandale manufacturing plant and we continued to run this until the end of October following which this transitioned back to the local hospitals (along with best practices and learning for them to take on).
Transportation of food to impoverished communities & medical supplies for Covid-19 screening and testing
FoodForward SA, a non-profit organisation that distributes food supplies to impoverished communities, has been working hard to ensure provisions reach those in dire need of food. However, the growing demand drastically reduced stock levels at the Port Elizabeth branch earlier than anticipated and the organisation needed to transport food speedily from the head office in Johannesburg.When Isuzu learnt of this dilemma, the company quickly intervened and arranged for four trucks to collect the food supplies in Johannesburg and transport it to Port Elizabeth.
Additionally Isuzu made a contribution of R750 000 towards 48 tons of food for unprivileged communities in Nelson Mandela Bay, providing 750 000 meals.
Isuzu also provided15 bakkies on loan to support First Rand’s The SA Pandemic Intervention and Relief Effort (SPIRE) and in particular for usage by the University of Pretoria’s Health Sciences Faculty. The bakkies were utilised by doctors and medical practitioners to transport supplies and provide advice and support to those doing the screening and the testing in the Pretoria and Limpopo areas The teams have also recorded key insights for their Research Unit in order to learn from this pandemic.
Agriculture Sector Support
The drought in South Africa has threatened the livelihoods of many farmers. Isuzu, in partnership with non-profit organisation, Farmers Assist South Africa and truck dealer Motus Isuzu Isando, have worked together to reduce the impact of the drought on farmers.
To this end fodder, food and farming essentials are regularly delivered to farms and farming communities such as Merweville in the Western Cape, Tolwe in Limpopo Province and Vanwyksvlei in the Northern Cape.
The Central Karoo specifically has been gripped by dire circumstances for the past seven years. With no rain, no feed, the reduction of livestock to be able to continue and several financial and emotional woes, farmers are at their wits’ ends.
Innovative Green Housing project
Isuzu Motors South Africa (IMSA) is an environmentally responsible company and holds ISO 14001 certification. Sound environmental management is entrenched in the company’s vision, and Isuzu is committed to reducing its environmental footprint.
IMSA is a landfill-free company and has a waste recycling ratio of 95%. The non-recyclable left-over waste, both hazardous and non-hazardous, is sent to an energy recovery facility.
This year IMSA has rebuilt a dilapidated house of a pensioner in Walmer Township from 80%recycled material. The project was executed in partnership with Ndalo Projects, who collect waste material from our waste yard and manage the building process.
This project has resulted in the construction of a two-bedroom house with kitchen and bathroom facilities, running water and a vegetable garden. This is an improvement of the single room dwelling with outside ablutions.