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Julius Malema slams 'rushed and senseless' reopening of SA economy

EFF leader Julius Malema says workers need to be protected. He spoke out against a 'rushed' return to economic activity in SA.
EFF leader Julius Malema says workers need to be protected. He spoke out against a 'rushed' return to economic activity in SA.

If any employee contracts Covid-19 and dies during the partial reopening of the SA economy that kicks in on Friday, the government and employers must be held accountable says EFF leader Julius Malema.

He was delivering his party's Freedom Day message on Monday.

Malema said the decision by government to ease the lockdown by lowering it from level 5  to level 4, enabling 1.5m workers to gradually resume their duties, with a number of companies reopening for business, was reckless.

Any deaths emanating from the easing of the lockdown, he charged, should rest squarely at the door of government and employers.

Should employees returning to work on Friday contract the virus and die from it, said Malema, their employers should be liable for R5m in compensation to individual families.

“Government must be cautioned now that if workers contract the coronavirus, infect their families, friends and communities, government and their capitalist friends must take full responsibility for murder and attempted genocide,” said Malema.

“Cyril Ramaphosa and all the companies that are rushing into premature reopening must know that they will have blood on their hands if our people die as a result of the premature, reckless and senseless reopening of the economy.

“Each and every company that reopens during this period must be directly held accountable for the health and safety of the workers, and we as the EFF will make sure that no life is lost due to rushed and senseless reopening of the economy.

“Our submission is that for each worker that contracts the disease due to premature and senseless reopening, that company should pay a fine of R5m to the family of the deceased.

“It must strictly be [on a ] scientific basis that should necessitate the reopening of the economy.”


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