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News : Union Expresses Concern as Work Resumes at uMhlanga Call Centre Despite Lockdown Extension


Durban, South Africa, April 20, 2020 -- The uMhlanga call centre that was shut down last month for allegedly breaching the government’s Covid-19 lockdown regulations, resumed operations last week.

The Congress of South African Trade Unions (Cosatu) raised the alarm on Tuesday that CCI South Africa, which employs about 9 000 workers, had issued staff with a return-to-work notice.

Cosatu’s Edwin Mkhize said it was irresponsible for all workers to abruptly return to work while the government battled to curb the spread of the virus.

"This is quite disturbing, noting that the lockdown has not ended -instead, it has been extended to April 30," he said.

Mkhize said Cosatu opposed the directive issued by the KZN MEC for Economic Development, Nomusa Dube-Ncube, which clarified the status of call centres as an essential service.

"Further clarity must be given on the government’s directive prohibiting the gathering of more than 50 people if CCI is exempted from such rule," he said.

Economic Development spokesperson Ndabezinhle Sibiya said: "What the MEC has done is to issue a letter to all call centre operators across the province, explaining what exactly is an essential service and what type of essential services call centres are expected to provide as guided by the national government."

In a letter issued by Dube-Ncube, the department said the possession of the Companies and Intellectual Property Commission’s (CIPC) certificate was still subject to the company fully complying with the applicable lockdown regulations, and did not in itself constitute the right to continue operating during the period.

"Only businesses which provide essential services in terms of the lockdown regulations, as amended, issued by the Minister for Cogta may continue their operations during the Covid-19 lockdown."

Peter Andrew, CCI’s legal director, said the company was providing an essential service.

"CCI is providing an essential service and operating in compliance with the Covid-19 Disaster Management Regulations and all directives pursuant thereto," said Andrew.

Business Process Enabling SA (BPESA), the industry body that CCI falls under, said the call centre had been operating legally and according to Covid-19 regulations when they were shut down.

Andy Searle, the chief executive of BPESA, said there were 65 000 international jobs in South Africa, of which 21000 were classified as essential services.

"Out of 21000, we have currently less than 2000 people across the country delivering that work," said Searle.

He said there were fewer than 500 people split into different shifts and branches, including working from home at CCI.

"I think it’s important to celebrate the role that these young people are playing, they are very brave.

"They are doing it voluntarily and are fulfilling a service without which we would really struggle in South Africa at a citizen level," said Searle.

He said they had seven companies providing essential services to international markets in KZN, including CCI.

"Some of these companies are providing essential services to, for example, other government agencies, just like ours but they’re just summarily shut down," said Searle.

He said the government issued directives to enable certain call centres to operate during the lockdown.

BPESA worked with its KZN partners and government departments, especially the provincial Department of Economic Development to ensure that the directions and regulations would be properly interpreted by law enforcement on the ground.

"That letter was issued which then made it possible for our companies to feel confident enough to continue doing legally what they had been doing," said Searle.


Posted by Veronica Silva Cusi, news correspondent

Today's Tip of the Day - Games Trainers Play

Read today's tip or listen to it on podcast.

Published: Tuesday, April 21, 2020

Printer Friendly Version Printer friendly version

2021 Buyers Guide Speech Technology


Agara is an autonomous virtual voice agent powered by Real-time Voice AI. It is designed to have intelligent conversations with your customers, vendors, and partners without any assistance from human agents. It can handle a wide variety of calls including inbound customer care calls, outbound lead generation calls, appointment scheduling calls, and overdue payment recovery calls.

Agara is available for several industries including banking, insurance, retail, e-commerce, airlines, and telecom. Powered by advanced Real-time Voice AI that understands speech in real-time, automatically determines the right process to follow and guides the caller along in the process with natural conversation.

Call Center Studio

Call Center Studio
Call Center Studio is the world’s first call center built on Google and is one of the most secure and stable systems with some of the industry’s best reporting. It is one of the most full-featured enterprise grade systems (with the most calling features, one of the best call distribution, outbound dialing features and integrations—including IVR, AI Speech Recognition, blended inbound/outbound calling and includes Google’s new Dialogflow and Speech API. Call Center Studio is the absolute easiest to use (with a 10 minute setup), and is the price performance leader with lower equipment cost and less setup time.

Call Tracking Metrics

Execute automated actions based on words spoken by your customer.

Our intelligent word detection and transcription tools make it easier for you to decipher the content of your customer conversations and automate action based on those insights.

Transform the audio of your calls into speaker-organized scripts so you can easily search your call log for specific words from a conversation, or automatically detect when words of intent are spoken by your customer.

Listen in on and highlight common patterns in order to execute triggers to initiate a new action or workflow, such as emailing a manager if the word “cancel” is spoken on a call. You can also set up to automatically redact content from a transcript, such as sensitive health information transmitted on a call.


Daisee builds technology that empowers people to solve problems by making interactions simple and smart so they can have a more significant impact, be more productive and be better at what they do. We believe incremental improvements carry huge potency and provide exponentially greater change for the better.

Genesys customers can now automate risk and quality management using Daisee’s speech and sentiment analytics and remediation workflow software. Daisee helps improve customer experience, ensure regulatory compliance, identify missed commercial opportunities & training requirements as well as provide valuable insights back to the business directly from the frontline – the true voice-of-...
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Advanced speech recognition and natural language expertise that routes callers by simply asking ‘how can I help you?’. It allows customers to use their own words to ask for what they want and steers them to the right place.

Menus are eliminated altogether and contact centres can use a single inbound telephone number.

MattsenKumar LLC

SmartSpeech – The Best In Class Speech Analytics Software

An all-inclusive speech analytics application that enables you to visualize your audio using state-of-the-art speech recognition, transcription, and text analytics technologies.


InTone Suite - Emotion Detection via Voice Analysis
InTone™ is a voice analysis tool geared to detect genuine emotional and cognitive reactions regardless of the speaker’s language or chosen intonation.
It integrates into existing contact center environments and provides realtime indications of both client and agent emotional reactions throughout all ongoing calls. This unique set of indications assists managers and call center representatives to truly understand the client, improve call center performance, easily detect angry calls, elevate training efficiency and provide a tailored customer experience in every single call.

Nemesysco's contact center technology is also available in API and SDK forms.
Please visit our website for information about our product portfolio.

Voci Technologies Incorporated

V-Blaze Speech to Text
Our GPU-accelerated, AI-based technology enables you to deliver greater insights to the contact center by transcribing audio into analyzable text.

- Transcribe large volumes of recorded audio quickly
- Integrate transcripts with your analytics or business intelligence platform
- Reduce your hardware footprint and minimize total cost of ownership


Voxjar is your one-stop-shop for driving better phone calls with your customers. We're a modern Conversation Analytics and Call Coaching Platform.

- Custom Charts and Dashboards give you the freedom to analyze calls from the highest level down to the details of each conversation.

- AI-Powered Speech Analytics transcribes, searches, and analyzes your reps' phone conversations, at scale.

- Quality Assurance and Call Coaching tools let you evaluate and improve agent performance with a human touch.

- Long term recording storage for historical analysis

All of these together provide the holistic, easy-to-use software that you need to manage a modern call team and create better con...
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