Health MEC slammed after jail threat
THE Public and Allied Workers’ Union of SA (Pawusa) has accused Health MEC Dr Sibongiseni Dhlomo of being confused over the his statement yesterday calling for mortuary workers to return to work or face up to 30 days in jail.
Dhlomo’s statement threatened jail time not only if they did not work, but also if they did not work at “optimum level”.
Pawusa provincial secretary Halalisani Gumede said Dhlomo’s focus was in the wrong direction.
“The MEC is confused. People are at work, but they are on a go-slow. That won’t change until he improves our working conditions and pays workers reasonably.
“There are people who have been found to have dipped their hands into the department’s purse, and some had since left – yet he has not done anything about them to recoup the money.
“He threatens us with arrest when we demand fair salaries and better working conditions, yet corruption is everywhere in his department,” Gumede said.
He said unclaimed bodies were piling up in mortuaries in eThekwini and no arrangements were made to bury them. He added that these bodies have become a hazard to employees as they secrete fluids.
“Such bodies need to be kept separate from bodies that are claimed by families. In Fort Napier, there are 60 unclaimed bodies, at Gale Street, there are 50, and Park Rynie has 34 unclaimed bodies. The challenge we face is that there is no space to store them. As a result, there is cross-contamination, meaning that someone who died today, is contaminated with someone who died in 2017. To workers it is hazardous to work is such an environment,” Gumede said.
The impasse dated back to 2006 when the department took over the mortuaries from the police service. At the time the department took over, experienced and newly-employed workers were graded the same.
In his statement yesterday, Dhlomo warned workers to return to work or face jail for up to 30 days for contempt of court.
The department had recently interdicted the workers from embarking on the go-slow.
On Tuesday, the court granted an order to interdict workers from embarking on a wild cat strike and also granted an order for the workers being in contempt of court.
“If the workers fail to return to work and work at optimum level, the order will be implemented. Some of the employees’ grievances such as protective clothing and the faulty air conditioning system have been addressed at provincial level, while the remuneration issue is dealt with at national level,” Dhlomo said.
The National Education Health and Allied Workers’ Union said Dhlomo could not force people to do what was not in their job description.
“He is missing the point. He took assistants and asked them to dissect bodies due to the staff shortage and has not paid them accordingly.
“And now workers are doing what they signed for. Therefore, the court order does not apply to members,” Mduduzi Chili, provincial deputy secretary, said. THE twin daughters of convicted murderer and former property mogul Jason Rohde are torn between mourning their mother and supporting their father.
This emerged in the Western Cape High Court yesterday when social worker Rian Perry relayed the details of his victim impact report.
Perry met the family of slain Susan Rohde, which included a joint interview with her twin daughters, 18, after their matric exams.
“The interview (with one of the twins) was emotional. She said her life changed and their lives were turned upside down. She said their mother was the core of their family and every time she woke up, she thought it was a dream…”
“The twins are torn between mourning their mother and supporting their father,” Perry said.
The case continues today.