Sewer deaths anger Cosatu

By Drum Digital
09 October 2013

Cosatu in the North West expressed shock and anger on Wednesday at the deaths of a father and son while they were unblocking a municipal sewer.

"The municipality must take responsibility for all the cost for the funeral and making sure that the family is not exposed to poverty," said Congress of SA Trade Unions North West provincial secretary Solly Phetoe. The two died when they inhaled toxic fumes while trying to unblock a sewerage system at Huhudi township, in Vryburg, on Friday, police said. "It is alleged that both victims went inside the sewerage main hole which is next to the old dumping site to unblock the sewer," Captain Pelonomi Makau said at the time.

Batlhaleheng Mohumapelo, 60, was a permanent municipal worker. His son Monnapula, 24, was a contract worker. Cosatu conveyed its condolences to the family. "There is nothing more painful than losing a parent and a child on the same day." It said the deaths were apparently asresult of a lack of the correct tools and protective clothing for workers, and this had become a trend in the province.

Cosatu urged Labour Minister Mildred Oliphant to ensure that municipalities complied with health and safety standards.

Co-operative Governance and Traditional Affairs Minister Lechesa Tsenoli should intervene before the situation worsened, Phetoe said.

-by Sapa

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