Automotive manufacturer Isuzu Motors South Africa has made its media test fleet of vehicles available to disaster response nongovernmental organisation (NGO) Gift of the Givers Foundation’s Covid-19 emergency response.
“Instead of the bakkies being parked during this time, they were used to help curb the spread of Covid-19,” says Isuzu Motors South Africa corporate affairs, business strategy and legal executive Denise van Huyssteen.
Gift of the Givers set up Covid-19 testing facilities, in Johannesburg and Durban, while supporting medical professionals by supplying them with protective wear and essential medical equipment throughout the country.
The organisation’s medical personnel used the bakkies during lockdown, particularly to transport medical equipment and other essential supplies.
“We are grateful for the transport support. Isuzu has always been a trusted and proactive member of Gift of the Givers. Through their support, we were able to reach many more vulnerable communities across South Africa,” says Gift of the Givers director and national coordinator Badr Kazi.
Van Huyssteen states that Isuzu allocated 12 bakkies to the emergency response.
The media test fleet vehicles are in addition to an existing partnership between the two entities for the past two years. This includes three FTR850 trucks fitted with water tanks, and three bakkies which Gift of the Givers uses on an ongoing basis in its relief efforts during drought and other emergency incidents.
Further, Van Huyssteen adds that Isuzu has also redeployed a few bakkies and trucks to support with the transportation of medical and other critical supplies to hospitals in Nelson Mandela Bay, in an effort to support the emergency response.
This includes vehicles that were initially earmarked to provide logistical support for events, such as the Ironman triathlon, which has been deferred to a later stage.
“Our vehicles are well suited and equipped to transport goods required by hospitals and NGOs during this time of crisis.”
During the lockdown, Isuzu has halted its production and operations in South Africa.
Van Huyssteen explains that while the company is aware of the direct economic impact of the closure of operations on business, suppliers, dealers and employees, the measures were necessary to contain the spread of Covid-19.
The company continued to offer support to clients classified as providing essential services for South Africa and engaged with stakeholders to develop and implement plans to mitigate the impact of Covid-19 on the local economy.
“There is no doubt that the next few weeks and months will be a difficult time for our economy, and for every single South African. As Isuzu Motors South Africa, we stand in solidarity with government, our employees, dealers, suppliers, customers and our broader community,” Van Huyssteen concludes.