Numsa to push Eskom for answers

Thembisile Lucia Yende’s best friend Busisiwe Zulu speaking at the memorial service

Springs – The National Union of Metalworkers of South Africa’s (Numsa) second deputy president Ruth Ntlokotse has promised the Yende family the union will put pressure on Eskom to get answers on how Thembisile Lucia Yende died.

She was speaking during a memorial service on Thursday held at the KwaThema Community Hall.

Yende was reported missing by her family on May 17.

Her decomposing body was found 13 days later in her office at Eskom Pieterboth substation in Springs.

Ntlokotse says Yende’s death is a reflection of the brutal capitalist system which is uncaring, inhuman and cruel.

“Our members in Gauteng demanded that Eskom ensure that when employees are called out or work in a substation, they should work in pairs.

“This was not the case with Thembisile because she worked alone,” she says.

Ntlokotse says Eskom consciously made the decision to withdraw security from all its substations.

“To make matters worse, the security cameras at all substations are supposed to be monitored from the central command station.

“This is to ensure that should anything happen, they could intervene immediately.

“However, this did not happen in Thembisile’s case – the security cameras were not working and nothing was done about it.

“This is why Eskom failed to pick up that something terrible had happened to her,” she says.

She adds that even when Yende’s family raised concerns about her disappearance, Eskom was unhelpful.

“They did not broadcast her disappearance to all their employees who perhaps could have assisted the family in finding her.

“She is a victim of an uncaring employer and an unsafe working environment,” she says.

“We are going to put pressure on Eskom to give you the answers that you are looking for.

“We are calling for an independent investigation into the way Eskom handled this entire situation.

“We are also calling on the Department of Labour to intervene and investigate Eskom to ensure it is indeed following the basic standards of the law when it comes to the health and safety of all its employees,”she says.

Eskom national general manager Jacob Machinjike says they are offering to work closely with the police and conduct internal investigations to help find the people responsible for her death.

“We understand the family feels we were not helpful in finding her body and we failed her.

“We are today saying that we are here to help.

“We have initiated an investigation and those responsible will be brought to the book,” he says.

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Doreen Mokgolo

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