JOHANNESBURG – The National Education, Health and Allied Workers’ Union (Nehawu) is ready to file an urgent interdict against Health Minister Zweli Mkhize if he fails to respond to the desperate plea for protective gear for health workers fighting the COVID-19 pandemic.
More than 1,300 people have tested positive for the coronavirus in South Africa so far but the union said the number would rise significantly once more tests were carried out.
Nurses, doctors, pharmacists, cleaners, community health workers, ambulance, morgue workers and laboratory technicians.
These are the workers who continue to pitch up every day during the lockdown, risking their own lives by coming into contact with those infected with COVID-19.
However, they don’t have the necessary protective gear to keep themselves and their families safe.
Nehawu’s general secretary Zola Saphetha said they’ve been urging Mkhize to comply with the Occupational Health and Safety Act of 1993 since the outbreak hit South Africa a month ago.
“There are no adequate precautions and to risk our members to go and turn to people who may have been infected, without protecting themselves.”
He said their lawyers have already prepared the necessary paperwork to approach the High Court in Gauteng by the end of the day if there’s no guarantee from Mkhize before Thursday’s shift starts.