Health MEC slammed after jail threat

Daily News - - METRO - CHRIS NDALISO [email protected] RE­PORTER | STAFF

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.

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