“I have been loyal towards my employer for the past decade, but I refuse to put my life and that of my loved ones in danger and protect state-owned assets without being given the promised PPE’s.”
This is a protection services employee of the Passenger Rail Agency of South Africa (PRASA) who refused today to continue patrolling hot spots together with his colleagues after they still have not received facial masks or gloves.
“PRASA is treating us, their valued employees, as though our lives mean nothing. It breaks my heart to admit that the state-owned enterprise that I have been serving so long are exploiting the employees who’s work were declared essential services.”
“PRASA reports to the same Transport Minister Fikile Mbalula that the taxi’s and buses needs to report to. Just yesterday the Minister amended public transport regulations to minimize the spread of COVID-19 during the 21-day lockdown period.”
“The minister said public transport vehicles must reduce the maximum number of passengers to 70% of the licensed capacity if commuters have no masks. Public transport operators must also adhere to directions on sanitizing vehicles.”
“At the same time I am expected to sit in a vehicle in close proximity with my colleague without a mask of gloves and while knowing that our vehicles have never been sanitized,” this member of the United National Transport Union (UNTU) told Steve Harris, General Secretary of the Union. His identity is being withheld to protect him.
Harris says to date UNTU members in KZN and in Gauteng have been complaining about the fact that they only have hand sanitizer to protect them. Although PRASA undertook to provide them with proper PPE’s, the national shortage has been given to them as an excuse.
“If Transnet can get hold of the necessary PPE’s for its employees who must work, PRASA has got no excuse. PRASA is simply not a priority to Government,” the member said.
Harris says in the Eastern Cape the employees who must work, have not even been given transport and must use public transport to get to work. “President Cyril Ramaphosa repeatedly pleaded with all South Africans to adhere to the lockdown regulations to flatten the curve and to prevent a similar disaster than what this global pandemic caused in European countries, but it seems that even his pleas are being ignored by PRASA,” says Harris.
For more information phone Harris on 082 566 5516.
Issued on behalf of UNTU by Sonja Carstens, Deputy – General Secretary: Media, Liaison and Communication. For UNTU press releases phone 082 463 6806 or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org