JOHANNESBURG, June 1 – The National Union of Metalworkers of South Africa (Numsa) on Thursday called for an independent investigation into the death of Eskom employee, Thembisile Yende, saying that it would put pressure on management to provide answers.
“Numsa is demanding an independent investigation into Eskom’s handling of this entire incident. We want to know whether Eskom did due diligence in its attempts to locate comrade Yende,” Numsa’s second deputy president Ruth Ntlokotse said.
“This investigation must also look at the safety conditions of all the substations at Eskom to ensure that the power utility is adhering to the most basic standards to ensure the safety and security of all employees.”
This comes after a delegation of local and regional leaders from Springs, east of Johannesburg, including Ntlokotse, visited the Yende family home on Wednesday to commiserate and express the union’s condolences.
Ntlokotse said the trade union was supporting the family financially with funeral arrangements. The 30-year-old was a learner artisan at Eskom and a member of Numsa.
Yende’s decomposing body was found locked inside an office at Eskom Pieterboth substation on Monday after she went missing for 12 days. Her cause of death remains unknown while the police are investigating and conducting a post-mortem.
In a statement, Ntlokotse said Numsa was outraged at the manner in which Eskom had handled this incident.
“The power utility did very little to assist the family when they enquired about her disappearance,” Ntlokotse said.
“It boggles the mind how the initial investigation that Eskom claims it conducted with sniffer dogs to try and locate her, failed to pick up that her body was locked in one of the substation offices the entire time.”
Ntlokotse said Numsa also demands that Eskom account for the poor safety conditions at the substation in Springs. She said Yende was working in an isolated substation with no security because security officers had been withdrawn from all substations.
A memorial service will be held in Springs on Thursday afternoon at Kwa-Thema Community Hall. Yende’s funeral will be held on Saturday. The venue is yet to be confirmed.
– African News Agency (ANA)