Outrage at ‘sexist’ comment

2012-08-23 00:00

“WE have every right to get pregnant.” That’s the response of paramedics who have expressed their outrage at allegedly sexist comments made by their boss.

They claim that “female employees” was number 22 on a list used by the general manager of EMS, Nkateko Sithole, when he addressed an EMS task team at Grey’s Hospital on Tuesday.

Paramedics quoted Sithole as saying that one of the challenges facing the Emergency Medical Services (EMS) in KwaZulu-Natal is “women paramedics who fall pregnant and go on maternity leave”.

Sithole has since said he would apologise to the EMS employees he offended during an address prompted by Minister of Health Aaron Motsoaledi’s formation of a task team to review EMS in the country.

Paramedics told The Witness Sithole’s comments were “sexist” and “undemocratic” and they demanded a public apology.

One parademic said he was “furious” at his boss’s comments.

A woman paramedic who is planning to have a second child said she was scared that after her four months’ maternity leave she would be without a job.

“I’m totally disturbed. This is discrimination against females and sexist during Women’s Month.

“He should retract his statement. It’s our right to bear children. We’re not living in Iran or Iraq here,” she added.

She said she had invested 10 years of her life in the job.

College for Emergency Care principal Seemole Mfeka said she would send Health MEC Dr Sibongiseni Dhlomo and the national Department of Health a letter of complaint.

“I felt naked as a woman when Sithole said women paramedics who fall pregnant and go on maternity leave are a challenge,” said Mfeka.

She said she feared that some paramedics might hide their pregnancy by wearing tight uniforms, which could harm the development of a foetus.

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