Fedusa wants clear guidelines on permits for essential services during lockdown
Johannesburg - The Federation of Unions of South Africa (Fedusa) urged the government to publish clear guidelines for essential services employees to access permits allowing them to travel during a 21-day lockdown which began at midnight on Thursday to curb the spread of Covid-19.
President Cyril Ramaphosa announced the lockdown on Monday night, saying all people in South Africa would be required to stay at home except for health workers in the public and private sectors, emergency personnel and those in security services such as the police, traffic officers, military medical personnel and soldiers.
The lockdown prohibits people from leaving their homes except "under strictly controlled circumstances, such as to seek medical care, buy food, medicine and other supplies or collect a social grant" and those found guilty of violating the rules will be liable to a fine, or imprisonment for a period not exceeding six months, or both.
"Fedusa has called on employment and labour Minister Thulas Nxesi to urgently publish clear guidelines on exactly how and where workers who are regarded as essential services employees can access permits that will allow them to travel ... during the national lock-down," the labour federation said.
It also called on the Presidency to consider gazetting a special consideration that would allow the department of health and other key ministries to fill up all vacant public services posts in order to substantially increase the size of personnel available to combat the pandemic, which has seen the number of infected people in South Africa jump to 927.
"Fedusa’s call comes in the wake of deep concerns that the current levels of staffing at public health facilities which are already struggling to cope with long queues, could easily be overwhelmed if the number of locally acquired Covid-19 infections out of the total number of confirmed infections, breach the 100 benchmark," it said.
African News Agency/ANA