How the CSOS is managing Covid-19

Photo credit: Shaun Thomas

Message from Ndivhuo Rabuli, Acting Chief Ombud

When the President declared a national state of disaster on 15 March 2020, our new reality was that of sailing in uncharted waters as a country. Little was known of the COVID-19 virus, other than the experience garnered from other countries and that it was declared a pandemic by the World Health Organisation.

For the CSOS it hit home quickly. The CSOS acted proactively by closing its Gauteng Service Centre as a direct response to a sister organisation’s (with whom we share a building) employee who was exposed to a person who had tested positive for the virus.

Since then, we have consulted extensively with our shareholders, industry role players and various command centre representatives to understand what is expected of us and how best to safeguard the security of our employees and users of the CSOS Service.

Whilst most welcomed our Directives on COVID-19, some felt it was not within the jurisdiction of the CSOS to guide schemes on the movement of individuals within schemes. Drastic measures had to be taken to drive the message of social distancing, and to support scheme executives who were challenged by persons playing golf, taking walks and gathering in large, alarming numbers.

Scheme executives are tasked with ensuring strict compliance with the Regulations insofar as the wearing of masks and gloves, sanitising surface areas and keeping a one metre distance between individuals as required. Scheme executives must also ensure that only a limited number of individuals gather or utilise the shared essential common facilities at one time and may implement any other measures within the community scheme in order to ensure the safety of all the residents.

These implementation measures developed by schemes do not require prior CSOS approval insofar as they enhance compliance with the Regulations, are fair and applicable to all residents (which include owners and occupiers) and are not prejudicial to any person residing within the community scheme.

The CSOS opened its full service to the public when Level 3 was announced and began preparing for scenarios where the delivery of the Service will be done electronically or by other means. Face-to-face conciliations and adjudications will not take place for some time. Other services, such as amendment of rules and the registration of schemes will continue as normal.

The lockdown has resulted in an unfortunate disruption to the CSOS Service and its ability to report on its performance.  I trust that this will be updated soon.

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