Death of clinic clerk sparks anger from nurses over processing of sick leave applications
Cape Town - The death of senior administration clerk at the Nolungile Clinic in Site C, Khayelitsha, has sparked anger from nurses, who say the City of Cape Town’s refusal or delay in processing sick leave applications is putting their lives at risk of Covid-19.
Maggie Mathe died on Tuesday from Covid-19 related complications. The clerk was among 20 other staff at the clinic who tested positive.
Mathe’s is the fourth Covid-19-related death this week, following those of two Groote Schuur nurses, Eva Isaacs and Patricia Coetzee, and firefighter Makosandile Mbhokhwe.
They bring the death toll to at least 22 health-care workers and 2560 positive health-care worker cases in the province.
Yesterday, a memorial service was held for Mathe. Health-care workers, family and friends gathered at the Solomon Tshuku Hall dressed in black and red to share fond memories.
Her colleagues described her as a loving, larger-than-life woman.
“A very free-spirited person, a very lovely person. She was incredibly open about everything about herself. She was that kind of person who would get to work in the morning and say ‘life is tough’, but by the end of the day, she would be singing a different tune,” said a colleague.
“She had been ill for some time; she was overweight and suffered from asthma, but the City would not approve her leave. It was only when she really got worse that her leave was approved but by then it was too late,” a nurse told the Weekend Argus.
However, the City denies the allegations, saying Mathe became ill on May 29 and was taken for testing, but her condition deteriorated, and the clerk was admitted to ICU three days later, where her health improved.
City spokesperson Priya Reddy said Mathe was in a general ward when she died. Reddy confirmed “all city health workers have been subject to annual leave restrictions due to the pandemic”.
Mathe’s funeral is tomorrow.