Cosatu Western statement on the Covid – 19 infections in the Western Cape

The Congress of South African Trade Unions in the Western Cape Province is alarmed that our province has now recorded more than 50% of all Covid-19 infection cases nationally. As of Wednesday, 27 May 2020, a total of 16 551 citizens in the province have tested positive with the Coronavirus.

To deal with this development the Federation convened a Special Alliance Secretariat meeting yesterday to discuss this steep rise of the infections all across many sectors. A special focus was given to the Health Sector with the provincial leadership of both our affiliated unions Nehawu and Denosa delivering a presentation on the impact of COVID -19 in the Health sector.

We have many health workers becoming infected on a daily basis and at an alarming rate.

We condemn the failure of many health sector managers to comply with Health and Safety regulations. Some hospitals have shown total disregard for the World Health Organisations (WHO) compliance guidelines. Employers are refusing to close and decontaminate areas after positive cases have been detected.

They irresponsibly allow workers who have tested positive to only self-isolate for a week and threaten to issue them with leave without pay, in the event, they stay in isolation longer.

We call on the Department of Employment and Labour to conduct urgent investigations and inspections at Tygerberg Hospital, New Somerset Hospital, Groote Schuur Hospital, Khayelitsha Hospital, Mitchells Plain Hospital, Mediclinic Cape Town and all other high-risk Health Care facilities in our Province.

We are of the view that urgent and immediate action is required by the national government to address this problem. The provincial administration is playing Russian roulette with the lives of the workers. Similar situations are occurring in the Education Sector, where there are not enough Personal Protection Equipment (PPE) for our educators and learners.

Cosatu supports the latest call by SADTU for their members not to report for duty until such time that all proper preventative measures have been put in place. We are also calling on the government to provide the Personal Protection Equipment & other essential products needed by our educators and learners to be safe at our schools.

We also call on the Department of Employment and Labour to deploy a dedicated team of inspectors to do inspections across all farms to ensure compliance by farmers in this vulnerable sector.

It is now urgent that the regulations on how designated hotspots areas such as Cape Town are to be managed to be made public as soon as possible. The constant postponement of this announcement is not helpful at all.

Issued by COSATU

For questions or further information, please call

Cosatu Provincial Secretary Malvern De Bruyn –    060 977 9027 or

Cosatu Provincial Chairperson Motlatsi Tsubane     –   074 482 6180