Union blames Sars after employee dies of Covid-19

Nehawu has accused Sars of negligence after an employee died of Covid-19.
Nehawu has accused Sars of negligence after an employee died of Covid-19.
Image: Reuben Goldberg

The National Education, Health and Allied Workers’ Union (Nehawu) has accused the South African Revenue Service (Sars) of “gross negligence” after an employee of the tax agency in the Eastern Cape died of Covid-19.

According to Nehawu, Fikile Maqungwana's scope of work included "Covid-19 screening and supply of disinfectants to taxpayers and employees, without proper training on Occupational Health and Safety (OHS) Standards".

Maqungwana, who was based in Mthatha at the time of his death, started at Sars in 1998 as an anti-corruption Officer.

"The untimely passing of Comrade Maqungwana comes after the employer (Sars) unilaterally decided to expand his scope of work to include … Covid-19 screening and supply of disinfectants to taxpayers and employees, without proper training on Occupational Health and Safety (OHS) Standards," said Nehawu provincial secretary Miki Jaceni in a statement.

"As Nehawu in the province we view this as gross negligence and the contravention of the Covid-19 rules and regulations.

“Nehawu has been consistent in its call for training and safety measures to be provided and our calls have been ignored and not taken serious by the management. We have on numerous occasions called on the employer to strictly adhere to OHS Standards in the workplace in our efforts against Covid-19."

Nehawu also accused Sars of failing to provide adequate Personal Protective Equipment (PPE). ​

Attempts are being made to get comment from Sars.


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