Most firms to close early

2010-06-11 00:00

PIETERMARITZBURG companies have heeded Cosatu’s call to give their employees a chance to watch the game between Bafana Bafana and Mexico this afternoon.

The slogan “Feel it, it is here” would have been meaningless, said an employee, if their employers had not valued the importance of the World Cup.

While some workers would be given a chance to watch soccer on big screens installed in their workplaces, others have been given days off.

The Witness spoke to several local companies to find out what measures they have put in place to ensure that their employees “feel it”.

The president of the Pietermaritzburg Chamber of Business (PCB) Tinus Havinga said: “I know for a fact that some companies are closing their businesses at 1 pm to give their staff a chance to watch the opening ceremony and the match. We have got a television set, which we will use to watch the games for the duration of the world cup,” said Havinga.

He said that other companies that could not afford to close their businesses opted to bring in big screens for their employees.

He added that he has been impressed with the energy brought by the World Cup.

“There is a united force, which I did not expect in the beginning. The World Cup has created a huge nation-building phenomenon, which is much bigger than our 1995 Rugby World Cup,” he said.

Ali Akbar Moosa, technical director at Willowton Oil, said: “Our senior management are being taken to watch the opening game and Saturday’s game between Argentina and Nigeria in Johannesburg.”

Moosa said other employees have been given a day off.

“Our Cape Town operation worked last Saturday for a total shut down for today. It is a pity we [in Pietermarizburg] did not think about that earlier,” said Moosa.

Lorraine Hebblethwaite Scharf, managing director of TDM manufactoring company, said his workers embrace soccer matches.

Chris Checkley, Glenn Rand MIB manager, said his staff will have lunch then later watch the match.

Keith Walker, Standard Yoke and Timbers Mills director said: “We are letting everyone off at 1pm so that people will have time to watch the build-up to the opening ceremony and the game itself.”

Hector Molale, in charge of Hulamin executive corporate affairs, said: “We will be working as normal today. However, all of our employees have been given free day’s leave that they can use at their discretion.”

First National Bank chief executive Michael Jordaan anounced that their branches will be closing early today to give their employees a chance to watch the Bafana game.

“We considered the impact on customers and have made this decision based on the unusual importance of the event. We trust that our customers will be able to complete their branch banking business before 3 pm.

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