Eskom failed Thembisile Yende - Vavi

2017-06-03 13:17
The body of Thembisile Yende lay dead in her office near Springs for more than 10 days. (Supplied)

The body of Thembisile Yende lay dead in her office near Springs for more than 10 days. (Supplied)

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Johannesburg - Eskom callously refused to provide its workers with the protection and security they should receive, SAFTU general secretary Zwelinzima Vavi said during the funeral of Thembisile Yende. 

The funeral took place in KwaThema in Springs on Saturday.

Yende's body was discovered in her locked office on Monday after 16:00 when Eskom employees got a whiff of a strong smell emanating from the corridors of the substation where she worked.

She was reported missing on May 17. 

Vavi said Eskom refused to listen to the National Union of Mine Workers' pleas that workers at substations should always work in pairs.

"They withdrew security and the cameras were not working when this fatal attack took place. They, and the police, took an unforgivably long time to follow up on the report that Thembisile was missing," he said. 

The South African Federation of Trade Unions said it will support Numsa's demand for the fullest possible investigation into the incident so that they can know exactly what happened, who was responsible and what must now be done to prevent any similar fatalities.

"At least some good can come of this tragedy if Eskom management are forced to prioritise the safety of their staff instead of lining their pockets through corrupt deals."

Yende's death is the latest in a string of incidents of gender based violence in the country. Vavi said that South Africans need to go beyond just expressing horror at these atrocities and turn anger into action.

"It must not be a problem we only mention once a year during the 16 Days of Activism, and do nothing about it in the other 349 days."

A massive national campaign is required with unions in the lead in educating and mobilising members, he said.

"In 2009, according to the police statistics, the conviction rate for murder in this country was 13% and for rape 11.5%. But other estimates in 2014 said the conviction rate is as low as 10%."

Vavi told attendees to commit to the new struggle for the total and true emancipation from the real reasons behind the horrendous statistics. 

SAFTU called on all workers irrespective of political and ideological divisions, on all the organs of people's power to embark on this new struggle for the emancipation of the working class and the black people.

Read more on:    thembisile yende  |  zwelenzima vavi  |  eskom  |  violence against women

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