COSATU Western Cape statement on the rising rate of Covid – 19 infections in the Western Cape

Cosatu Western Cape is deeply concerned and disturbed by the alarming rate of an increase in the number of Covid – 19 infections in the Western Cape. This calls for urgent action by the responsible authorities.

What is of more concern is the report which indicates that workers in the retail sectors are amongst the highly affected and the numbers are increasing daily. Shopping malls have now become the new epicenters of Covid-19 in the province because managers and employers have failed to put proper preventative measures in place.

The Federation has noted that some employers are consciously putting profit in front of the health of workers. For example: in some retail stores employees are instructed not to tell fellow workers if they are infected. We have already seen two deaths in the retail and health sectors, respectively. We send our heartfelt condolences to their and other families who have lost family members during this pandemic.

We are also extremely perturbed by the highly inappropriate way that the Western Cape Provincial Government is handling this pandemic. It is no secret that the Western Cape has now recorded at least 50% of all the known COVID – 19 infection cases nationally. 

Cosatu calls for the immediate and urgent intervention of the National Government. We need a co-ordinated response to curb the spread of the further spread of the virus in this province, not arrogant party-political approach that has been adopted by the Western Cape government.

Cosatu is issuing and urgent call to its all our members and workers in general to obey the lockdown rules, especially as it pertains to social distancing, the wearing of personal protective equipment such as face masks, and regular sanitising and soap handwashing.

Failure to do this will have unprecedented consequences. We also call on law enforcement agencies to patrol the malls and ensure that there is compliance by shop owners.

Cosatu supports the call by our sister Union Saccawu for the Department of Health and the Department of Employment and Labour to do serious interventions by conducting road shows and inspections at all Shopping Malls and Retail Stores.

We are alarmed at what appears to be blind and irresponsible insistence by the Western Cape Education Department to force educators and learners back to school, without proper preventative measures having been put in place. We support SADTU stance that there can be no return to school, until such time as the Personal protection Equipment & Other Essential Product needs of our educators and learners have been adequately catered for.

For questions or further information, please call

 Malvern De Bruyn –    060 977 9027 or

 Motlatsi Tsubane     –   074 482 6180