Suspend depot managers - Samwu

2010-11-10 17:04
Johannesburg - Managers at a Springs depot in Gauteng, where a worker was killed in a tractor accident, should be suspended, Samwu said on Wednesday.

"Line managers should be suspended pending an investigation. Currently management is refusing to come to the depot to address workers on future plans and to explain to them what had happened," SA Municipal Workers' Union spokesperson Koena Ramotlou said.

The municipality and the union gave different versions of Monday morning's accident, at the Ekurhuleni department of environmental development.

According to the municipality, the employee, Kedibone Ruth Mokatse, 38, was killed when the tractor she was driving overturned and fell on her. Five of her colleagues tried, but failed, to save her.

The woman from KwaThema, who was employed as a general worker by the metro last year, was eventually freed when the tractor was pulled off her by another metro vehicle. She was declared dead on the scene.

Ekurhuleni municipality spokesperson Zweli Dlamini said the woman shouldn't have been driving in the first place.

'Pure negligence'

"As a general worker the employee's functions did not include driving a tractor. There's a lot of grey area and it will come out in the open soon."

According to Ramotlou the woman was a passenger on the tractor and was being trained by a driver lacking the relevant experience.

"She fell over when the driver applied brakes and as a result was run over," he said, claiming that several vehicles used by workers were unroadworthy.

"Most of them (the vehicles), their licences expire and they are not renewed. The same tractor involved in the accident was unroadworthy," he claimed.

"This is pure negligence and it's not the first time we raised the issue of safety. Management in Ekurhuleni has failed to take charge."

Dlamini said the tractor's licence was renewed ahead of its due date in August.

"As far as I'm concerned, no vehicle from the municipality can go on a public road if it's unroadworthy."

The victim's colleagues, and those who saw the accident, were receiving trauma counselling. The municipality and police were investigating.

Samwu said it intended to campaign for safety and security, and force management to comply with safety regulations. It intended to ensure its members were not subjected to unsafe working conditions.

Dlamini emphasised that it was incumbent upon the municipality to put systems in place to ensure a similar accident did not happen in future.

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