EMS accuses DA of politicising firefighter dispute

Some of the fire fighters who attended the conference.
Some of the fire fighters who attended the conference.

This after DA shadow member of mayoral committee for public safety Michael Sun accused Mayoral Committee for Public Safety Sello Lemao of acting on his threat to fire firefighters for speaking out about what they called “ill treatment by their senior managers”. Sun said the firefighters who attended the press conference that was called by him predicted their fate and said that they were likely to be victimised and could lose their jobs for blowing the whistle.

Joburg firefighters fight for their rights 

Sun said he called the conference so the public could hear it straight from the firefighters about the conditions of some of the Joburg’s fire stations and the possible dangers that the residents face due to lack of fire engines. Before the conference Mulaudzi told this website that 28 fire stations throughout Johannesburg were fully operational without any disruption.

City denounces firefighters’ allegations

This was refuted by the fire fighters in that press conference. The workers alleged that they were being dehumanised, victimised and harassed by the EMS top management. The workers also complained about the poor quality of the “fake” uniform they wear when they are fighting fires. Among their complaints were dysfunctional firefighting equipment, shoddy working conditions that are in contravention of the South African Basic Conditions of Employment Act and a lack of or broken fire engines. Brosman Maciki said, “ The management hired a lawyer for senior manager who was embroiled in a sexual harassment case after he was reported by his female subordinate.”

Meanwhile, Sun said the firefighters who attended the press conference predicted their fate and said that they were likely to be victimised and could lose their jobs for blowing the whistle. He added that DA Joburg Caucus leader Vasco Da Gama told him that after the Council meeting on 27 August, Lemao approached him and said that he will sack the fire fighters who attended the press conference to speak out on the issues surrounding EMS. “The city has now suspended the first fireman for attending the media conference. Although I was not surprised but I am disgusted at the extent that Joburg’s EMS would go to victimise their employees for speaking the truth.”

However Mulaudzi said, “It’s unfortunate that disputes between the employee and employer are now politicised for political grandstanding, each and every organisation has its own disciplinary procedures and processes to be followed when conducting a disciplinary inquiry which needs to be followed of which in this case it was followed to the later.” He said there was nothing untoward regarding this matter. Fire fighters know what the processes to be followed are when they have grievances, in this case that was not done.

“What is wrong is when a political party starts interfering with operational disciplinary processes and change itself to become a labour union,” Mulaudzi said.

Also read: 

Firefighters’ strike unprotected

Lanseria residents reportedly blame firefighters’ go-slow for house burning down

  AUTHOR
Aphiwe Boyce
Metro Reporter

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