Ford Motor Company of Southern Africa says it has implemented a “phased restart” of its operations, resuming vehicle and engine production at its local plants.

The Blue Oval brand builds the Ranger and Everest at Silverton, and produces a range of engines at Struandale.

The company says the ramp-up process will be “gradual” as workers adjust to the new health and safety protocols, and the “entire supply chain comes up to speed”.

“We’ve been working intently with national government, our safety and medical teams, unions and our workforce to reopen our Silverton assembly plant in Pretoria and Struandale engine plant in Port Elizabeth,” said Ockert Berry, vice-president of operations at Ford Motor Company of Southern Africa.

“Since the beginning of April we have been producing protective face shields at the Silverton plant, and are using the lessons from this project, along with input from our global Ford teams, the department of health and our medical specialists to ensure we are taking the right precautions to help keep our workforce safe.

“Our HR, medical, safety, engineering and facilities teams at both plants have used the past two weeks to fully prepare for our employees to safely return to work,” Berry said.

Ford says various physical distancing measures have been implemented at its facilities, along with the establishment of dedicated “flu clinics”.