NEHAWU leadership to visit the Port Elizabeth area as infection of workers spiral out of control

The leadership of the National Education, Health and Allied Workers’ Union [NEHAWU] led by the General Secretary, Comrade Zola Saphetha, will visit workplaces in the Port Elizabeth area as the infection of frontline workers with the coronavirus spirals out of control.

NEHAWU will visit workplaces where its members and workers have been recklessly exposed to the coronavirus including workplaces where members have lost their lives to the virus.

The aim of the visits is to highlight the fact that the escalation of the number of workers who are carelessly exposed to the virus is a serious cause for concern and as NEHAWU, we believe that failure to protect workers is tantamount to murder.

The visits to workplaces will be used by the leadership of the national union to check the following:

  • Compliance to the Occupational Health and Safety [OHS] Act
  • Available stocks of Personal Protective Equipment [PPEs]
  • Training of workers to deal with COVID-19
  • The availability of workplace health and safety committees

The visits will begin on Friday [June 12, 2020] at Livingstone Hospital which has the biggest casualty and emergency unit in the province. Our members and workers have been complaining about the lack of adequate PPEs, understaffing, lack of a clean working environment. Many workers have contracted the virus while one worker succumbed to the virus on the 31st May 2020.

NEHAWU has been at the forefront of highlighting the horrible state of the hospital and the dangers faced by both workers and patients. The Provincial Department of Health in Eastern Cape accused NEHAWU of politicizing the problems that currently engulfs the hospital and called on NEHAWU to assist the department in addressing those problems. In this regard, the leadership of the national union will visit Livingstone hospital to assess the situation and also make a donation of PPEs especially the N95 and Face masks for theatre workers. The visit is scheduled as follows:

Date: Friday June 12, 2020

Time: 10am

Venue: Livingstone Hospital Corner Lindsay and Stanford Road, Korsten, Port Elizabeth. 

NEHAWU will also visit the Uitenhage Provincial Hospital, the South African Revenue Services [SARS] offices in Port Elizabeth and the South African Security Services Agency [SASSA] in Zwide on the 15th June 2020. On the 17th June 2020 the leadership will visit the Midlands hospital, office of the Department of Social Development and the Eastcape Midlands TVET College in Graff Reinet.

The visits to the Port Elizabeth area forms part of the first steps of a broader campaign by NEHAWU to protect its members and workers against infection by COVD-19. NEHAWU will visit more workplaces in the next coming weeks to ensure that the health and safety of workers is guaranteed and that employers are not recklessly exposing our members to the virus.

Members of the media are invited to attend and to cover these visits.

Issued by NEHAWU Secretariat Zola Saphetha (General Secretary) at 082 558 5968; December Mavuso (Deputy General Secretary) at 082 558 5969; Khaya Xaba (NEHAWU National Spokesperson) at 082 455 2500 or email: