News24 Wire
Wire Service
3 minute read
6 May 2020
10:38 pm

Workers return to their jobs, but some still lack essential items

News24 Wire

Mozambican national Thomas Makamo, who works at a nursery, claims that they have not been provided with sanitisers, masks and gloves.

Picture for illustration. Picketers scuffle with police at a ‘physically distanced’ picket outside Chris Hani Baragwanath Hospital in Soweto, 1 May 2020. They were demanding PPE equipment for all frontline health care workers. Picture: Tracy Lee Stark

Some workers say they are expected to perform their duties without the necessary items that will prevent them from contracting the coronavirus.

Workers returned to work on Monday, after spending three weeks at home, but some have said they still experience problems, such as a lack of permits, hand sanitisers, gloves and masks.

Mozambican national Thomas Makamo, who works at a nursery, claims that they have not been provided with sanitisers, masks and gloves.

Makamo and his two colleagues added that they don’t have permits to be on the road when they deliver flowers to their customers.

The trio refused to name their company and only said it was based in the north of Johannesburg.

“We are kept behind the bakkie when we deliver flowers. We are not allowed to enter people’s properties because we don’t have permits and masks. Our boss has promised to provide us with the necessary things, but he hasn’t to date.

“Our lives are at risk. We have heard on radio how the coronavirus kills people in the country and are worried that we could be next,” said Makamo.

A female employee complained about a lack of clients.

The woman, who works at a drug and alcohol rehabilitation centre in Johannesburg, said, since Monday, they haven’t seen a client.

Before lockdown, the rehabilitation centre was abuzz with people seeking help, according to the woman.

“We returned to work on Monday, hoping to have clients and it never happened. Our centre is usually busy with clients seeking help. However, this time there was not a single person who arrived at our offices.

“Before lockdown, we would find people outside, waiting for us to open and others coming in numbers. I think that the lack of movement during lockdown has had an impact on people visiting us,” she said.

The woman hoped that, maybe after lockdown, things will return to normality.

Another woman, who identified herself as Tshegofatso, said they were adhering to the regulations at her workplace.

“We have been provided with the necessary items to assist us, such as gloves, masks and sanitisers. Our challenge is social distancing because we are closely communicating with each after being away for three weeks.

“Things are not as they were before lockdown because we remind each other to behave and keep a distance. We don’t have a canteen anymore and are required to use the stairs, not the lifts,” said Tshegofatso.

Samuel Nhlapo said that, at his work, they are compelled to bring their own food daily.

Nhlapo said he would rather work under strict conditions to save lives, than to languish at home unemployed.

“Our canteen is closed for health fears. We are no longer interacting with each other like before. We continuously wash our hands with soap and apply sanitisers throughout the day.

“The situation is unusual, and it is going to take us some time to get used to it. Our clients are refrained from closely communicating with us. Things are strange and we hope that the lockdown can end quickly,” said Nhlapo.

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