Picture: IANS
Picture: IANS

Cosatu alarmed over Western Cape's Covid-19 infection rate

By Samkelo Mtshali Time of article published May 29, 2020

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Cape Town – Cosatu in the Western Cape has expressed shock and alarm the province had now recorded more than 50% of all Covid-19 infection cases nationally.

On Friday, 17 754 of the province's citizens had tested positive with the coronavirus and it had recorded 406 deaths while the countrywide positive infection rate stood at 27 403, with 577 deaths.

Malvern de Bruyn, Cosatu provincial secretary, said that to deal with this development, the trade union had on Thursday opted to convene a Special Alliance Secretariat meeting to discuss the steep rise of the infections across many sectors.

De Bruyn said a special focus had been given to the health sector with the provincial leadership of Cosatu's affiliates Nehawu and Denosa delivering a presentation on the impact of Covid-19 in the health sector.

"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 Organization compliance guidelines. Employers are refusing to close and decontaminate areas after positive cases have been detected," De Bruyn said.

He added some hospitals irresponsibly allowed workers who had tested positive to only self-isolate for a week and threaten to issue them with leave without pay should they stay in isolation longer.

De Bruyn called 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.

"We are of the view that urgent and immediate action is required by the national government to address this problem. The provincial administration is playing Russian roulette with the lives of the workers.

"Similar situations are occurring in the education sector, where there are is not enough Personal Protection Equipment (PPE) for our educators and learners. Cosatu supports the latest call by Sadtu for their members not to report for duty until such time that all proper preventative measures have been put in place," De Bruyn said.

He also called on the government to provide the PPEs and other essential products needed by our educators and learners to be safe at 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," added De Bruyn.


* For the latest on the Covid-19 outbreak, visit IOL's special #Coronavirus page.

** If you think you have been exposed to the Covid-19 virus, please call the 24-hour hotline on 0800 029 999 or visit sacoronavirus.co.za 

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