At a recent meeting, the National Education, Health and Allied Workers’ Union (NEHAWU) accused government departments of disregarding COVID-19 guidelines and called on government to supply more preventative equipment.
On Friday, 20 March 2020, the National Education, Health and Allied Workers’ Union in Mpumalanga Province sat a meeting with the Director General of Mpumalanga Provincial Government, whose agenda was to address the province’s lack of response to COVID-19. On Sunday, 15 March 2020, President Cyril Ramaphosa had, amongst other things, called on employers to prioritise employees’ health and safety while striving to minimise the spread of the virus. Considering this, the union noted that several departments and public institutions were actively disregarding the president’s COVID-19 guidelines.
The meeting with the Director General concluded on several resolutions, including a stakeholders meeting, which is scheduled for Tuesday, 24 March 2020. At this meeting, government institutions and departments will be expected to present their plans to combat the spread of the virus. Furthermore, the meeting agreed that although the technicalities of COVID-19 are assigned to the Department of Health, the Office of the Premier is tasked with overseeing this case.
The union called for departments to provide workers with sanitizers, masks and gloves. It further called for the Director General to ensure the safety and protection of all cleaners in government offices. The statement concluded by urging shop stewards to ensure that workplaces had active occupational and safety committees, which would contain the spread of the virus.