The United National Transport Union (UNTU) is deeply sad and devastated with the news this morning that stalwart Trade Unionist Linda Biljoen (62), UNTU Executive Council Member serving Transnet Freight Rail, has lost her brave and hard battle against the Covid-19 pandemic last night.
“The Leadership of UNTU is in shock. This is the first time that the global pandemic which has claimed the lives of almost 88 000 South African’s has taken one of our inner circles at the heart of the Union. We don’t have enough words to express our grief. Our sincerest condolences to her family, friends, loved ones, colleagues and each and every member whose life and heart she touched in so many ways over the years. Her loss will be felt by us every day,” says Trevor Wasserfall, Acting UNTU President.
Biljoen went in for a neck operation last month. She was recovering at home when she and other family members were diagnosed with Covid-19. She was admitted to hospital and remained there for the past two weeks. She showed improvement over the weekend but had a setback on Sunday.
According to Wasserfall there was never a task too big or a sacrifice to high for Biljoen to pay in serving the Union. She was the second female Executive Council member to be elected to serve on the EXCO and has served the Union for three terms. She was looking forward to her retirement next year but wanted to continue assisting members and serving wherever she could.
Steve Harris, General Secretary of UNTU, says Biljoen did not only limit her work to UNTU. She served as a director of UNTU Palms, the Union’s seashore family holiday resort on the South Coast of KwaZulu-Natal.
“She played an active role in putting the best interest of the guest of the resort first, often driving to the resort to visit and check on the progress of its maintenance plans. She loved serving others and was loyal to the core,” says Harris.
Biljoen continued in her efforts to empower women in the workplace and in the Union and did her utmost best to support and encourage the staff of the Union to develop their full potential.
Details of her memorial service will be shared with members as soon as it is available.
May her soul rest in peace.