The Congress of South African Trade Unions (Cosatu) in Western Cape says they worried that the province has recorded more than 50% of all Covid-19 infection cases nationally.
“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,” the federation said in a statement.
Cosatu said a special focus was given to the health sector with the provincial leadership of both its affiliated unions National Education, Health and Allied Workers’ Union (Nehawu) and Democratic Nursing Organisation of South Africa (Denosa) during a presentation on the impact of Covid-19.
“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 Organisation’s (WHO) compliance guidelines,” it said.
The federation claimed that employers were refusing to close and decontaminate areas after positive cases had 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 the province,” it added.
Cosatu said they were of the view that immediate action was required by the national government to address the matter.
“The provincial administration is playing Russian roulette with the lives of the workers. Similar situations are occurring in the education sector, where there is not enough personal protection equipment (PPE) for our educators and learners.
The federation further said it supported the South African Democratic Teachers Union (SADTU) after the union called for their members not to report for duty until such time that all proper preventative measures had been put in place.
“We are also calling on the government to provide the PPE and 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,” the federation said.