The South African Municipal Workers’ Union (SAMWU) in the North West Province has learnt with sadness and a heavy heart the fatal electrocution of a worker at the JB Marks Local Municipality. On the 19th January, Comrade Reni Seroalo a member of the union who was an electrician at the municipality was attending to an electrical fault in Ikageng where an Eskom line overlaps with that of the municipality electrocuted him, resulting in an overhead electrical transformer exploded and burst into flames resulting in his fatal death.
The Provincial leadership of SAMWU takes this opportunity to extend sincere and heartfelt condolences to the Seraolo family, friends, family and the entire workforce of the JB Marks Local Municipality. The union’s leadership will in due course be visiting the Seraolo family to convey condolences and sympathies on behalf of municipal workers in the province.
The JB Marks Local Municipality is currently in the process of investigating the cause of the explosion of the overhead transformer. We urge the municipality to ensure that a thorough investigation is conducted so to ensure that this horrific incident does not reoccur again in the municipality.
As SAMWU, we view this incident as an example of the dangers that municipal workers face on a daily basis, many workers leave their families in the morning not knowing if they will safely return to their beloved without any harm or alive. It is for this reason that we have been consistent as a union in calling for municipalities across the province to ensure that the health and safety of workers is guaranteed as per the prescripts of the Occupational Health and Safety Act.
We have as a union also been consistent in calling for a danger allowance to be paid to workers who are in harm’s way while executing their duties. More importantly, we have as a trade union been calling for proper maintenance of ageing municipal infrastructure through the province to ensure that not only are workers in danger but that the infrastructure is able to cater for the needs of residents.
We will therefore as a union be closely following the investigation of the cause of this incident, should it be found that the cause of the incident was a result of the failure by the municipality to properly maintain their infrastructure, we will be holding the municipality liable for the death that has resulted in a family losing a breadwinner.
In keeping alive the memory and spirit of Comrade Seraolo, we shall intensify our demand for greater compliance of the Occupational Health and Safety Act in all municipalities in the province, the health and safety of workers cannot be compromised. We will also be ensuring that our fight for a danger allowance is realised for all workers who are in harm’s way.
We once again send our sincere and heartfelt condolences to the Seraolo family. May his revolutionary spirit rest in peace.
Issued by SAMWU North West Province
Vincent Diphoko, Provincial Secretary (083 580 8815) or Lebogang Kgatlhane, Deputy Provincial Secretary (078 473 7732).