To our valued customers, clients and stakeholders,
On Monday, 23 March 2020, The President of South Africa, Cyril Ramaphosa, announced an escalation of measures put in place on 14 March 2020 by declaring a de facto national lockdown to slow down the spread of COVID-19. This will cause significant disruption to our daily lives and have material impact on the South African economy, but exceptional circumstances call for exceptional measures. Decisive action is essential to protect human health and life, and socio-economic sustainability. Absa therefore supports the measures announced by President Ramaphosa.
Absa employs just over 38 000 people across many countries in Africa, with representative offices in the UK and US. We are systemically important in all our African markets and have an extensive retail network that reaches into thousands of communities across the continent. This places an enormous responsibility on us to provide good leadership, and to support our clients and customers during this difficult time. My leadership team, all Absa colleagues and I take this responsibility very seriously.
President Ramaphosa also declared banking an essential service. This means we are a vital part of the infrastructure that ensures that food, medical supplies and equipment are paid for, that employers can pay their people and the relief measures that President Ramaphosa announced can be effected. We have a vital role to play, and we will fulfil this role with a high level of commitment and to the best of our ability.
The continued health and safety of our people is therefore critical to the success of the national plan presented by the President. The steps we took to enhance hygiene and cleanliness of all our facilities will remain in place. None of us have faced a challenge of this type and magnitude before, so we will keep strengthening our response.
Our thoughts are also with you as our clients, customers and stakeholders during this difficult time. Should you experience any difficulties in respect of your debt obligations, please contact us in order for us to explore how best we can assist given your circumstances. Our telephonic service channels remain open, and our customer service consultants are available, and some of our branches will also remain open. We are also working together with banking sector peers, regulators and the government to look at industry-wide the economic relief measures for customers and clients. Announcements in this regard will be made in due course. We encourage you to use our digital banking channels (Banking Apps and Websites) as much as possible as part of limiting possible exposure to the Coronavirus. They are convenient, secure and safer.
Unfortunately, times like this are also prone to disinformation and fraud. For the most accurate information about our operations, please use Absa digital channels (websites, SMS, WhatsApp, Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, Instagram etc.). Protect your banking devices and login information, and remember that we will never ask you to tell us your password or PIN, either online or over the phone.
We are working with public health authorities and agencies in all our markets to coordinate efforts, and to make a contribution to the public health response where we can. While we don’t know what the eventual, full impact of the virus will be, the crisis is severe enough to know that the impact on business activity, the global economy and communities is going to be profound.
The road ahead is going to be tough, but I have no doubt that if all of us pull together and play our part, we will prevail.
Group Chief Executive: Absa