Ulundi municipality to pay for private Covid-19 tests for all 400 employees

Ulundi local municipality will pay R850 for each of 400 employees to be tested for Covid-19.
Ulundi local municipality will pay R850 for each of 400 employees to be tested for Covid-19.
Image: GALLO IMAGES/AFP/BERND THISSEN

The Ulundi local municipality will pay for all 400 employees and councillors to be tested privately for Covid-19.

The municipality made the resolution in response “to a revelation regarding 19 Covid-19 cases at its neighbouring municipality of Mthonjaneni”.

Mthonjaneni municipality was forced to close when employees tested positive.

Ulundi municipal manager Nkosenye Zulu advised that the municipality should use a private laboratory service as the health department had still not returned results of tests that were done more than a month ago.

According to Zulu, after a national directive from the co-operative governance & traditional affairs minister for municipal essential services employees to return to work, the department of health conducted screening and testing of certain employees to resume duties on May 4.

“However to my utter dismay not even those results are out yet, more than a month later. Therefore it's only logical that rather than retesting only those who were tested by health in vain on May 4, council is advised to secure a reliable testing service through Lancet directly.”

Zulu, who also chairs the local Covid-19 joint operations committee, raised a concern that the initiative, sought through testing when employees resumed office, was already lost owing to non-available results that could have provided early warnings and urgent evasive actions by this municipality.

“What remains now is that all employees and officials, inclusive of those with co-morbidities and those over 60 years, present themselves on June 19 for private testing.”

Mayor Wilson Ntshangase welcomed a “safe-is-better-than-sorry” approach.

He said though R850 per person was costly, people were the “most valuable asset in an organisation”.

“This will also save the public that is served,” he said.

The KwaZulu-Natal health department did not respond to a request for comment.


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