File picture: Pexels
File picture: Pexels

School volunteer severely burnt on duty 'still awaiting compensation' from department

By Yolisa Tswanya Time of article published Feb 14, 2020

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Cape Town – Three years after suffering severe burn wounds while cooking for Dunoon children, a Silverleaf Primary School volunteer said she is still struggling to get her full compensation from the Department of Employment and Labour.

Nomthandazo Platyi said she was making meals for pupils in 2017 when a gas explosion occurred.

After the incident, she spent three months in hospital, during which time she was comatose for a month, she said.

“I was putting the gas on and it exploded. There was a crack in (the stove). I was still lighting the matches when it happened. My clothes and face caught alight, my hands and feet were on fire,” she said.

A caretaker heard the commotion and ran to her rescue.

“The kitchen is in a prefab building and it collapsed. The caretaker was the one who pulled me out of the rubble.”

Platyi said she was taken to Somerset Hospital and treated for third-degree burns.

“I have to wear glasses now because my eyes were affected, as well as my hearing. I also can’t stand for too long as my legs were affected.

"She said since the incident, she had been trying to get compensation from the Department of Employment and Labour, but kept being told the 'system is off-line'."

But department spokesperson Lerato Ramasobane said the claim was finalised and processed last year.

It has since been referred to their legal team as Platyi was not satisfied with the amount she received, Ramasobane said.

Ramasobane did not say how much Platyi was awarded.

Platyi said she received R2 000 last year, and was initially not sure where the money came from.

“I saw R2 000 in my bank account and it didn’t say where it was from so I used it because my children rely on me and we needed the money,” she said.

Western Cape Education Department spokesperson Millicent Merton said the incident had been reported to their offices.

“At the time of the accident, Ms Platyi was a National School Nutrition Programme Volunteer appointed by the School Governing Body.

"Staff at the school rushed her to a clinic for medical attention,” Merton said.

She said they were waiting on an update from the District Office about whether they assisted with compensation.

Cape Times

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