File picture: African News Agency (ANA)
File picture: African News Agency (ANA)

Calls for private testing at factory after Covid-19 death

By Okuhle Hlati Time of article published Jun 2, 2020

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Cape Town – The Food and Allied Workers’ Union (Fawu) is calling for the RCL Food Processors plant in Worcester to provide private testing for all its employees suspected to have contracted Covid-19 following the death of a member.

According to Fawu, Monica Mphatsoane died on May 28 after falling ill.

The union’s general secretary, Mayoyo Mngomezulu, said if the company conducted private tests, employees would get medical treatment sooner rather than later.

“We are at a loss for words over the passing of one of our own, Mphatsoane, particularly as she and other members have expressed concerns over the number of infected employees at the plant. She was married and leaves behind four children. Our hearts and prayers go out to the bereaved family, friends and colleagues,” Mngomezulu said.

A colleague who asked not to be named said: “She was a lovely person who always smiled and stood up for what she believed in. 

"The problem with the virus is that some get sick but don’t show symptoms.This could be the contributing factor to the spread at the workplace.

"Others do go into isolation, but the wait is long for their test results. The company is also not transparent with us, hence we requested the union to be involved.”

RCL Food Processors did not respond by deadline.

Mngomezulu said they had requested the Department of Labour to establish whether the company was in compliance with Covid-19 health and safety regulations.

“While the company did shut down for a day, members are still concerned over quarantine facilities for those who are not able to self-quarantine since many workers live in small, crowded houses.

"For those who are referred to state facilities, waiting periods can take seven or more days. For this reason, Fawu is urging RCL to rather provide private testing for its employees,” Mngomezulu said.

Cape Times

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