Evergreen Retirement Holdings – co-owned by the Amdec Group and financial services group PSG Alpha – employs close to 7,000 people, and claims to be the first company to enable construction workers to get their Covid-19 jabs on-site during work hours.
Getting the economy back on track while safeguarding the health of workers, is proving challenging for many industries, not least of which the construction industry, a large employer of unskilled workers in South Africa, and a key contributor to job creation. The relaxation of lockdown restrictions has certainly aided recovery within the industry but the reactivation of large-scale construction projects is imperative for job creation for the many South Africans whose lives have been severely impacted by the Covid 19 pandemic.
The urgent need to get projects back on track while managing the need for human interaction at their building sites is what prompted Evergreen Lifestyle to take action by extending its vaccination drive.
“The reality of South Africa’s socio-economic landscape is that most construction workers do not have the financial means or the time to get to vaccination sites during the working week, nor are they able to forfeit earnings for a workday missed,” said Cobus Bedeker, MD of Evergreen Property Developments, which has 975,000m2 of housing across 6,500 units and facilities across 13 retirement villages either under construction or in the planning phase.
“As a business, we fully endorse the government’s vaccination programme and consider it our civic duty to make sure everyone is protected. We’ve joined forces with our suppliers to educate crews on the importance of getting vaccinated, and we’ve supported the Covid-19 vaccine adoption by building conviction and making vaccination both free, and as convenient as possible,” he said.
Evergreen has also assisted the Department of Health by driving private vaccination outreach programmes at several of its villages, to aid old-age homes and other retirement villages. It has been instrumental in conducting vaccinations for residents and workers at CPOA Trianon (Diep River), Good Hope Park (Sea Point), Kronendal Retirement Village (Hout Bay), Peers Village (Fish Hoek), St James Retirement Hotel (St James) and Vue de Cap (Parklands).
Says Guin Lourens, nursing manager of Evergreen Health: “We saw it as our civic duty to assist old age homes that didn’t have the capacity or nursing contingent to vaccinate their residents. We have also extended this to all third-party service suppliers at our retirement villages, including caterers, contractors, security personnel, and landscaping companies.”
Maxwell Biton, a painter for Energy Master Builders at Evergreen Val de Vie says: "I was really worried about my job security as there have been talks of companies saying you won’t be able to work if you’re not vaccinated. So being able to get the jab on the site where I work really helped reduce the stress of not having to lose a day’s wages that put food on the table for my family."