NEHAWU statement on government’s decision to move the country to Alert Level 1
1 March 2021
The National Education, Health and Allied Workers’ Union (NEHAWU) notes the statement by President Cyril Ramaphosa announcing the decision by the National Coronavirus Command Council (NCCC) to move the country to Alert Level 1 of the COVID-19 lockdown as part of government’s Risk Adjusted Strategy.
The decision by government takes place just 5 days before the anniversary of the announcement of the first person to test positive for the coronavirus in the country on the 5th March 2020. Since then, more than 1 513 393 people have been infected while more than 49 993 South Africans have lost their lives to the virus. Many households have lost breadwinners and family members to death while many families have been subjected to a life of poverty by the effects of the pandemic on the economy and livelihoods.
We note the easing down of regulations and hope that it will not prompt our people to let their guards down. This is not a time to be complacent because the new variant continues to be brutal and easily transmittable. The extension of the hours for the sale of alcohol must not lead to trauma cases which will further put a strain our already overstretched healthcare system. With a third wave expected in the next three months our government must move with speed in preparing our healthcare system to cope with the workload. As NEHAWU, we will continue to monitor all healthcare facilities if they have sufficient stocks of quality Personal Protective Equipment (PPEs), functioning health and safety committees and enough space for social distancing.
The national union continues to prioritise the health and safety of its members and workers, hence, from this morning its leadership will be visiting various institutions of higher learning across the country to assess their state of readiness for the reopening for the 2021 academic calendar. These visits form part of a broader campaign by NEHAWU to protect its members and workers against infection by COVD-19. NEHAWU will visit more workplaces in the next coming weeks to ensure that the health and safety of workers is guaranteed and that employers are not recklessly exposing our members to the virus.