The National Education, Health and Allied Workers’ Union [NEHAWU] in Limpopo notes with grave concern the growing number of frontline workers who are getting infected and affected by the coronavirus in the province.
Recently, we have received several reports of frontline workers who are infected especially at the W.F. Knobel hospital, Van Velden hospital, Pietersburg hospital as well as a clinic in Waterberg.
All our frontline healthcare workers must be protect at all material times because they serve as our first line of defence against the virus. In this regard, we still encourage our members and workers not to work as and when they feel that their lives are in danger. The Limpopo Department of Health has an obligation to defend and arm its soldiers that it sends to war. The road to victory must begin with the department taking care of its soldiers and ensuring that they are armed to the teeth as they confront the corona virus in the province.
However, up to so far we hold a strong view that the department has not been up to the task and they seem to lack a coherent and effective plan to protect our members and workers from contracting the virus. In this regard, we call on the department to ensure the following as a matter of urgency:
· Fumigating and disinfection of healthcare facilities
· Testing and screening of all workers on a regular basis
· Ensuring that workers are quarantined if they come in contact with someone positive
NEHAWU demands the full compliance with item 6 of the Department of Public Service and Administration [DPSA] Circular no 7 of 2020 as a guideline including the Disaster Management Act to stop the spread of COVID-19 and ensure that workers are safe and that they don’t infected their families and communities. We find it abhorrent that the MEC during her visit to the EMS station in Polokwane mislead the public about both the guidelines of the DPSA and the Disaster Management Act in relation to steps to be followed when workers are infected or suspected of being infected. In this regard, we will be seeking an urgent meeting with the department to raise sharply these issues.
NEHAWU in the province remains a constructive partner in the broader fight against the virus with its immediate priority being the protection and defence of all its members and workers who are breadwinners and heroes against unsafe working conditions and reckless employers. Moreover, we call on the Department of Employment and Labour to play its part of inspecting workplace and forcing compliance with the Occupational Health and Safety [OHS] Act.
The safety and health of workers is sacrosanct and no effort must be spared in ensuring that workers are protected at all material times as we need all hands on deck to defeat the virus.
Issued by NEHAWU Secretariat Office For further information, please contact: Jacob Adams @ 082 558 5966 or email: firstname.lastname@example.org