EMS official's comments sexist - medics

2012-08-23 10:16

Durban - An official's comments about paramedics who fall pregnant and take maternity leave have angered women employees who described them as sexist, the Witness reported on Thursday.

General manager of Emergency Medical Services Ntateko Sithole said that "women paramedics who fall pregnant and go on maternity leave" were one of the challenges facing EMS in KwaZulu-Natal.

Sithole reportedly made the comments when he addressed the EMS task team at Grey's hospital in Pietermaritzburg on Tuesday.

Paramedics who spoke to the Witness said the comments were sexist and undemocratic.

"I am totally disturbed. This is discrimination against females and sexist during Women's month," a woman paramedic was quoted as saying.

The woman said she feared that some paramedics might hide their pregnancy by wearing tight clothes which could harm the foetus.

Sithole has since said he would apologise to the EMS employees he offended.

  • errol.wagner - 2012-08-23 10:34

    Oh people, grow up and stop being so sensitive!! What a lot of children South Africans are.

      Victoria - 2012-08-23 10:55

      @errol.wagner I cant agree more! Seriously! If women want to be taken seriously and see as equals they should start acting that way. Maternity leave does pose a huge problem to the already understaffed EMS. However one must also remember to be proactive instead of reactive. Employees should be comfortable with their employer and inform them in a timely manner that they are pregnant so that a temp can be found well in advance to maternity leave. Another thing many forget is that a company is not obliged by law to pay you maternity leave.

  • hibbard.tara - 2012-08-23 11:08

    I can understand that women who go on maternity leave can create shortages, yet there are women in all kinds of jobs that take maternity leave. If a CEO of a corporation falls pregnant she has every right to go on leave, even though there will be problems or shortages within the workplace. If correct protocol is followed with regards to requesting maternity leave, then I do not see the problem. There are many people who are in search of temp work, so it is unfair to criticize only EMS women and their desires to have children.

      inky.pinky.56 - 2012-08-23 11:25

      Unfortunately it is not as straightforward as it first appears. For many years I was involved in the training of technical staff within a much specialised field. Employing young females proved to be very problematic for the following reasons. As learners they are not permitted to work alone and are therefore a liability to the company until they are declared competent. Once competent they are expected to work alone above ground level and perform occasional manual labour tasks as well as perform standby duties that include call outs at any time. Once pregnant they are unable to perform these duties and remain a liability. Once their child is born they are unable to perform standby duties or work overtime as they have to look after the child and then they fall pregnant again and the cycle repeats itself. This creates huge problems with productivity and within the workforce as others have to take up the slack for year after year when females become pregnant.

      edwardsch - 2012-08-23 11:25

      Hear hear, Someone with sense.

  • solomon.matli - 2012-08-23 11:16

    Lets tackle the ball n not a person. ladies must be represented in all spheres of life. Yes, it is a challenge to EMS management as they have to deliver those esssential services with staff shortages, but un4tunately those ladies have families 2 and need to have kids as well. Un4tunately if u have an emergency 1 tends 2 4get those facts of life as they focus only on their crises at that time. Perhaps in case of curbing the problem, there should be emergency funds 2 hire temps to ease the burden on those remaining.

      joe.soap.1806253 - 2012-08-23 11:35

      How do you know they haven't hired temps? You can only hire so many temps; there aren't that many of them and you can still have a shortage of staff regardless.

  • Dawn Campbell Gibson - 2012-08-23 11:22

    So, lets stop people from taking Annual leave too. Does that not interfere with business too. FFS grow up!!! I have 3 kids. with each one only took equivalent to a normal persons annual leave off work. maybe limit each employee to one maternity benefit, this may prevent breeding like rabbits!

  • cosmic.tone.3 - 2012-08-23 11:35

    "women paramedics who fall pregnant and go on maternity leave" Not only paramedics, it seems in all State Departments where interns get appointed on a permanent basis they fall pregnant within the first 6 months... Seems to be the "in" thing to do

  • joe.peters.56 - 2012-08-23 11:42

    Vote DA

  • ally.oh.7 - 2012-08-23 11:43

    He should also apologise to all the women in SA, not just those paramedics he offended. BTW It should not cause "personelle" shortages. Any reasonably run enterprise makes provision for staff taking annual leave, sick leave and maternity leave. Time and salaries are allocated. Now if Ntateko Sithole doesn't quite understand this he should be fired because he is not fit to be a general manager of anything.

      burningdogz - 2012-08-23 12:33

      *sigh* Apologise for what?! Noticing an anomoly in current trends in the workplace and having the audacity to say it out loud so that the company can put proper mechanisms in place to avoid this phenomena from posing a risk to the company? That sounds to me like he is doing some proper managing rather than watching the company sink from all the overly sensitive politically correct holes like so many other of our country's so called leaders.

  • justin.massyn - 2012-08-23 12:56

    Open mouth, change foot!

  • J9.Lloyd - 2012-08-24 17:10

    Sithole is a problem

      J9.Lloyd - 2012-08-24 17:10

      I was seriously injured by the department's lift, whist on IOD,I was notified that of a \disciplinary hearing\ for being injured,meds were stopped

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