Home News Labour dept dismisses union’s allegations about Kimberley office

Labour dept dismisses union’s allegations about Kimberley office

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Officials at the Department of Labour refused to enter the building last week as they felt “exposed” to the virus.

THE DEPARTMENT of Employment and Labour has dismissed allegations by the Public Servants Association (PSA) that its Kimberley office was not complying with the Covid-19 regulations. 

Officials at the Department of Labour refused to enter the building last week as they felt “exposed” to the virus.  

The PSA advised its members to report for duty but not to work in non-compliant offices, as of May 13, as they stated that no statistical screening was taking place – where there was no register to keep track of who was entering the building. 

The union stated that the department had yet to inform it on progress to ensure that all personal protective equipment was supplied and that work areas were sanitised.

The spokesperson for the Department of Employment and Labour in the Northern Cape, Kebalepile Khula, dismissed the claims as “baseless”. 

“All occupational health and safety protocols at the Kimberley office have been observed to combat Covid-19 infections. A limited number of officials, who have been working since lockdown, are still reporting for duty as per schedule,” said Khula.

He added that staff were issued with personal protective equipment, including masks, latex gloves and sanitisers. 

“The face shields will be provided to front-line officials and partitions are being installed to promote social distancing in the workplace.” 

He indicated that the department had not recalled any additional officials to work as it was busy finalising the return to work plan for the Northern Cape. 

“The service provider has been appointed to perform industrial sanitising in line with the Provincial Risk Assessment Plan from May 18 to 22.  All our offices – including Kimberley, De Aar, Calvinia, Springbok, Upington, Postmasburg and Kuruman – will be deep-cleaned, disinfected and defogged with antiviral chemicals. Fabric office furniture, including the interior of all vehicles, will also be cleaned.” 

Khula stated that the offices were currently not open to the public.

“Therefore, no walk-ins are permitted into the offices, and drop-off boxes are provided at the main entrance for clients to submit new applications for services and to eliminate human contact. Access into the office is strictly for a limited number of officials, who are rendering essential services and have been issued with permits. The body temperature scan, registers and health questionnaire are being utilised to manage and track officials entering the office.”