COSATU urges government to move with speed to ensure justice is done for the George tragedy

The Congress of South African Trade Unions (COSATU) urges government to move with speed to ensure justice is done for the George tragedy’s victims, survivors and their families.  We offer our heartfelt sympathies and best wishes for the workers and the families affected by this devastating incident and loss of life.

The Federation applauds the tireless efforts by rescue, disaster management and law enforcement officials to save those still trapped.  Every resource must be mobilised to ensure all remaining survivors are freed.

Whilst these rescue operations continue, the Unemployment and Compensation of Occupational Injuries and Diseases Insurance Funds must ensure the workers and their families receive the full relief they are entitled to.  We are deeply concerned by reports indicating the employer involved blatantly ignored numerous labour laws including most likely failing to register these workers for the UI and Compensation Funds.  If this is true, the Funds should compensate the affected workers and their families and claim the monies from the employer.  Workers should not suffer further because of a delinquent employer.

Government, in particular the South African Police Service (SAPS), need to expedite their investigations. Whilst these may take time, the SAPS must arrest and haul before court the employer and anyone other person complicit in the wanton violation of our health and safety, construction and labour laws that led directly to this unprecedented tragedy.

We cannot accept a death toll of 26 lives and counting whilst the employer under who’s watch this occurred remains free to continue with his life as if nothing happened.

It is equally important that law enforcement investigate deeply worrying allegations of an unhealthy and possibly illegal relationship between the employer and members of the local leadership of the Democratic Alliance led George Municipality and whether this may have led to the failure to enforce numerous labour, health and safety, building and municipal laws at this construction site.

Justice needs to be seen to be done if we are to prevent a repeat of this calamity.

Issued by COSATU

For further comment please contact:

Malvern de Bruyn(COSATU Western Cape Provincial Secretary)

Mobile: 060 977 9027


Matthew Parks
Acting National Spokesperson & Parliamentary Coordinator 
Cell: 082 785 0687