Hammanskraal: Death and a very quiet company

2016-05-30 15:58

I am deeply disheartened and disgusted by the murder of the two workers in Hammanskraal.

I can understand that it must be enormously upsetting if people come to tear down ones home, but it does not warrant murder. Two souls are dead.

Who is to blame? The murderers, of course. But what about the company that employed them? I do not know what their legal liability would be, but based only on what I have read in News24 articles, the company that employed them certainly carries an ethical liability. 

If the facts stated in the articles I have read are accurate and complete, then the employing company has disappointed ethically. According to the brother of one of the deceased, the workers did not receive adequate briefing or training to deal with the violence they encountered.

Now, I am no security expert, but common sense tells me that the employing company should have done a full risk assessment prior to the day of engagement. Risks would have to be mitigated. Residual risk would have to be explained to the workers who should then have been strategically and tactically briefed on how to deal with expected risks.

The workers would have the moral right to be informed of how dangerous their work would be so that they could make an informed decision of whether they wanted to expose themselves to a life-threatening situation or not. They are not soldiers, after all. I would imagine that workers who are expected to face life-threatening working situations would also receive some form of danger pay, life insurance and funeral cover.

From the news articles I have read, it seems that the workers were employed as casual workers, earning an inexcusable R150 per day without any other benefits. It would appear that the workers were not being treated as human beings with dignity, but as expendable resources.

 I think this qualifies as a case of exploitation: Poor people, desperate for a job, being sent blindly to their possible graves, is not ethical business. Where is the employing company in this matter? Have they acknowledged their accountability? Have they issued a public statement? Have they reviewed their processes and values? As far as I can tell they have been very quiet... and that is not good enough. 

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