SABC disputes Bemawu's claim that the broadcaster concealed COVID-19 case
The Broadcasting Electronic Media and Allied Workers Union (Bemawu) has accused the SABC of endangering the lives of employees and claims that the broadcaster concealed a case of the coronaviurs at one of its offices.
Bemawu spokesperson Hannes du Buisson says according to documented proof the SABC knew that one of its news researchers was exposed to someone who tested positive by 17 March.
The SABC kept quiet, they did not warn anybody about this ... on the 19th we had a meeting with the SABC, we raised three important issues - the one is that there are pregnant and vulnerable employees that are still working at the union and that is before we knew as a union that there was someone at news research in contact with someone that tested positive.Hannes du Buisson, Spokesperson - Bemawu
The other issue is non-essential staff....yes they did indicate with us that they are putting plans in place only on the 19th, to release those staff.Hannes du Buisson, Spokesperson - Bemawu
The union has threatened legal action.
We want the SABC to just run on its necessary staff to keep broadcast going and send home everyone else that is not required at the workplace to have their news and current affairs running. Procurement and sourcing of equipment and that kind of issues are not an essential service at this point in time.Hannes du Buisson, Spokesperson - Bemawu
SABC chief operations officer Ian Plaatjies has disputed the claims saying this is misinformation.
On the 19th, in the affected areas that Hannes has just mentioned, there was one person that was reported that they had been in contact with someone who tested positively, we sent that person home and quarantined the rest of the area. But the person came back and the test was negative and the person was returned.Ian Plaatjies, Chief operations officer - SABC
In the same area, another incident last week, unfortunately the person was off sick for an unrelated matter and while hospitalised was diagnosed and tested positive. What Bemawu is now trying to do is link the two and say that we were irresponsible and didn't inform the people.Ian Plaatjies, Chief operations officer - SABC
Plaatjies says they have desanitised their offices twice and that they have already released their non-essential staff allowing them to work from home.
After the President declared a national disaster, he gave us until Thursday midnight. We had already started the week prior to that, identifying who were non-essential staff and started to equip them with euipemet to be able to work remotely.Ian Plaatjies, Chief operations officer - SABC
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