30 June 2020
The Federation of Unions of South Africa (FEDUSA) has called on Cash in Transit Services company G4S to immediately evacuate workers and deep cleanse its Crown Mines Branch south west of the Johannesburg CBD in accordance with COVID -19 Protocols. This is after confirmation that three of the company’s employees at the Branch died of COVID-19 complications and others had to be sent home after testing positive. The rest of the workers have camped outside the gates and are refusing to go inside the building until management has deeply cleaned the place and complied with COVID-19 Occupational Health Safety (OHS) social distance Protocols.
FEDUSA has also appealed to G4S, after the very same explosive situation was diffused with Fidelity Coin Services during May 2020, to strictly comply with COVID-19 Protocols and save workers’ lives after definitive and highly credible sources confirmed to the union federation that the company branches had adopted very casual attitudes regarding OHS risks associated with the pandemic.
Such attitudes are in stark contrast with the highly contagious nature of the COVID-19 and has seen it being classified as a notifiable disease under Section 27(2) of the Disaster Management Act and failure to give urgent notice to the authorities is prosecutable offence; while requiring workers to continue operating in an environment that has not been deeply cleansed after confirmed infections is a violation of human rights.
“The law is very clear on COVID-19 and whoever violated Section 27(2) must face the consequences,” the Union said. The grave and outright reckless behavior by G4s cannot be justified, as officers at any given stage during the day, utilizing any one of 50 vehicles for delivery, come in contact with a collective total of 2500 members of the public on a daily basis. As infections in Gauteng raise alarmingly to become the epicenter of the pandemic once again, FEDUSA will not stand idle and watch its members succumb to exposure, infections and ultimately fatalities. The Department of Employment and Labour once again must act with vigilance to do full and proper inspections, without fear or favour to ensure that the livelihood and wellbeing of South Africans are prioritized. We cannot sit and wait for our members to die before inspectors are being deployed, who themselves face the risk of exposure at sites with alarming numbers of positive cases.
In April, a Fidelity Security manager at its Lonehill branch in Johannesburg North was given the option of a R1500 admission of guilt or face prosecution for regularly transporting 40 guards to Soweto crammed in a small bakkie. FEDUSA remains cognizant of the vital roles that G4S Services play in helping to keep the economy running by delivering cash throughout the country and the need to avoid any unnecessary disruptions of their services,” said FEDUSA General Secretary Riefdah Ajam. “However the irresponsibility of requiring workers to continue operating in workplaces that have not been deeply cleansed after confirmed deaths and infections from COVID-19 is an outright violation of human rights and a risk that we are not simply willing to take”. Needless to say, thousands of South Africans run the grave and imminent danger of being exposed and infected to these very security officers, who move from workplace to workplace as they move contaminated cash and equipment on a daily basis. This kind of irresponsibility will not be left unchallenged
For interviews please contact:
Ms Riefdah Ajam
FEDUSA General Secretary
079 696 2625
FEDUSA Media and Research Officer
072 637 8096