COSATU KZN is horrified and infuriated by media reports of an incident where two workers were allegedly burnt to death with petrol by their employer on the claim of a missing gearbox. The federation has visited the families to get more information about the details of the incident. Indeed this is sad, barbaric, disgusting and very unfortunate and is condemned in the strongest possible terms.
The two gentlemen that are deceased were quite young, in their early 30s and in our interaction with the families it transpired that these families have lost sons, brothers, husbands and dads.
We have discovered that the families are poor, have nothing even to put on the table for their children and they have no money to bury their love ones. We know that the boss of these two workers will hire expensive attorneys for defence, but we want to urge the authorities to prioritize the lives of the poor workers.
As COSATU we will be engaging relevant departments and municipality to assist the families with funeral arrangements. We will engage the department of labour and work jointly to develop programme of inspection, prioritizing vulnerable workers in the townships as well.We demand answers on the previous cases where workers, including farm workers were killed by their employers.
Some employers are senselessly killing workers and get away with murder while many workers are lingering in prisons for trivial cases. The state law enforcement must do more to protect workers from such monsters. It is disappointing because these workers were made to work at the backyard with no rights or nor benefits at all.
These are some of the challenges about the atypical employment which is now dominating the South African labour market. It’s unfortunate that when workers raise these matters they are viewed as unreasonable and reasons for economic stagnation.
In our interaction it has transpired that many employers in the SMME’s still lack understanding of the Labour Relations Act, with regard to their rights as employers and the rights of workers. We also noted that Institutions such as DOL have not prioritized workers who work in Small Businesses, mostly in backyards in townships.
As COSATU, we will continue our campaign for a safe workplace, our place of work must not become abattoir for butchering of workers. The heartless employers who commit these satanic incidents must not be afforded bail, up until the matter is finalised to avoid provocation of workers. The federation will work with the families and workers who have survived to help them find closure as far as this matter is concern.
Issued by COSATU KZN
For more information please call COSATU KZN provincial Secretary Cde Edwin Mkhize -082 399 7756