The South African Municipal Workers Union (SAMWU) has had to take precautionary measures following the Cabinet meeting held on Sunday, 15 March 2020 and the subsequent announcement by, President Ramaphosa on the “drastic” measures taken in that meeting regarding the Covid-19 spread which is now poses public health issues for citizens of the country and the global village.
The South African Government has declared a State of National Disaster which prohibits gatherings of more than 100 people, this as a precautionary measure to mitigate and reduce the spread of this virus.
SAMWU had scheduled told its 12th National Congress from the 23rd to 26th March in Mafikeng, North West with attendance of over 600 people.
In light of the announcement by the President, a painful but justifiable conclusion has been arrived at that the 12th National Congress be postponed until such a time that the State of National Disaster is lifted of government announces otherwise.
We have further taken a decision to also postpone our Special Central Executive Committee and Financial Committee meetings which were scheduled to be held prior to the National Congress.
As a precautionary measure, we advise all our structures to abide by the pronouncements of the President. Should the need arise for general meetings, we encourage members to rather have these meetings in stages that comply with the directive of less than 100 people. In the interest of the union’s employees, we are putting in place measures which would assist in reducing their exposure to the virus.
We are particularly concerned by the health and wellbeing of our members whose exposure to the virus is high, these includes bus drivers, community health workers, frontline cashiers and generally the working class who have no alternative but to use crowded public transport such as trains, busses and taxis.
We therefore call on the South African Local Government Association (SALGA), as a representative of the country’s municipalities to speak out and announce a health plan that will ensure the safety of South African Municipal Workers.
We urge our members and all South Africans to regularly wash their hands for at least 20 seconds with an alcohol-based detergent, avoid unnecessary travel and to immediately consult a health practitioner should they experience any of the symptoms associated with the Coronona virus.
Issued by SAMWU Secretariat Koena Ramotlou, General Secretary (073 254 9394), Dumisane Magagula, Deputy General Secretary (084 806 4005), Papikie Mohale, National Media Officer (073 7100 356)