Friday, 1 May 2020
Bloemfontein: The Free State MEC for Health, Montseng Tsiu has expressed her solidarity with the workers in general and all categories of health workers on this occasion of the Workers Day, 01 May 2020.
The MEC was at the roadblock at 11:00am on the N1 off ramp to Brandfort, N8 on the way to Botshabelo, and visited malls to encourage people to screen as well as observe social distancing.
May Day as it is popularly known in South Africa, is historically associated with the struggles of the working class in their fight for better working conditions, fair labor practices, safety in the workplace and including an eight hour working day.
This day is associated with bitter struggles and shedding of blood, since the 1886 Haymarket affair in Chicago where a number of police, civilians and workers died. This international wave of solidarity gripped the whole world with workers fighting for their rights as well as intertwining these with demands for social and economic justice.
As early as 1914, South Africa experienced its fair share of solidarity industrial action by the working class. These grew from a small affair in 1916 into a serious movement and a well organized machinery that we have today in various forms according to the different sectors.
“The May Day 2020 is a different day in the history of global solidarity for the workers of our world. We are in the midst of a global pandemic where our movement is curtailed by restrictions as a result of a global Covid19 pandemic. We are with the workers of our world and we express our solidarity with them,” said MEC Tsiu.
“Today, we express our solidarity with the many scores of health workers who are in the frontline of the fight against this global pandemic Covid19. Our efforts are geared towards ensuring that they are well protected through the availability of appropriate Personal Protective Equipment, appropriate machinery, medical equipment, medical consumables, appropriate infrastructure and supportive environments for them to take care of the patients that they are expected to serve,” further said the MEC.
As a Nurse herself by profession, Tsiu has recognized the sacrifices of nurses, midwives, technicians, paramedics, pharmacists, porters, security, kitchen staff, doctors, community health workers, drivers, cleaners, administrators and many others who work, day and night to keep everyone safe.
“Under difficult circumstances our health workers work around the clock, putting their lives at risk, to fight the ravages of many known infectious illnesses including the lesser known but devastating Covid-19 pandemic.” said Tsiu.
In solidarity with the workers, Tsiu has pledged to be in the frontline of the fight against Covid-19. She reminded that it is a collective responsibility to ensure that we flatten the curve and curb the transmission of Covid-19.
“We must never be complacent as the Free State but ensure that we remind our people everyday and everywhere to do the basic things that are required of us. These basic things, if honestly practiced by all of us can prove to be the game changers – wash your hands regularly with soap and running water for at least 20 seconds; cover your cough and sneeze with your elbow or a tissue which must be safely disposed into a closed bin; do not shake hands; keep a safe 1 to 2 metre distance between yourself and the next person; use a cloth mask when going into public spaces.” concluded MEC Tsiu.
Tsiu joined the roadblocks on the N1 and N8 to see to it that there is adherence to Covid-19 health and safety standards as people travel to their places of work or residence.
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