The Federation of Unions of South Africa (FEDUSA) has urgently called on the collective intervention by the South African National Defence Force (SANDF) and the South African Police Services (SAPS) to provide effective security for embattled, tormented and traumatised Emergence Medical Services (EMS) and Operations Personnel at Metrorail in the Cape Town region over the festive season and beyond, to ensure that an interim and lasting action plan is implemented.
FEDUSA’s call is contained in correspondence directed to Ministers Mapisa Nqwakula, Mbalula and Oliphant, and comes after many attempts by its affiliates, the Health and Other Services Personnel of South Africa (Hospersa), Public Servants Association (PSA) and United National Transport Union (UNTU) alongside many other unions operating in aggressive working environments; to enlist the help of provincial health authorities following endless attacks on EMS personnel and ambulances as well as the constant battlegrounds that Metrorail employees face on a daily basis. Serious injuries and loss of lives, including that of an eight –year old boy and two UNTU members shot in the chest by armed robbers at Netreg Station in recent weeks, have fallen on deaf ears for far too long. We cannot hold our breath any longer or continue to pray for the recovery of our members who are under daily attack in their workplaces, said Dennis George, FEDUSA General Secretary.
Communities are being held ransom as a result of no provision of services during this time, when hotspot areas are deemed as red zones, resulting in total inaccessibility to the communities that members are required to render services to. This will no longer be tolerated, as FEDUSA insists that the deployment of the military health personnel to assist our EMS personnel as well as reinforced military backup and the redeployment of the railway police from December to end January when brutal attacks are at their worst levels.
FEDUSA President Godfrey Selematsela will lead the Occupational Health and Safety (OHS) March to Parliament on 05 December 2017 at 11h0, alongside General Secretary, Dennis George and the provincial leadership of thousands of HOSPERSA, PSA, UNTU and all other FEDUSA affiliated unions, under the slogan: #Workers’LivesMatter. The March will end at the gates of Parliament where a Memorandum of Demands will be handed over to the Ministers of Defence, Police and Labour, to urgently address the dire security situation.
The march has been triggered by the unfortunate lack of an action plan for the safety of EMS and other sector personnel operatives over the period by government authorities, said George.
The Department of labour remains the custodian of OHS, and FEDUSA insists that the Minister should enforce her legislative power and authority to demand that all government departments enforce proper health and safety measures in their respective workplaces, to assist our EMS and transport personnel during the festive season in particular, when brutal attacks are at their worst levels. Minister Oliphant is bound by legislation to ensure that compliance is ensured not only in the private, but in particular in the public sector, where the worst transgressions are evident.