Libyan embassy threatens to withhold salaries if staff refuse medical tests

A letter sent to staff last week states that, on instructions from the Libyan foreign ministry, staff must undergo HIV and Aids, tuberculosis and hepatitis tests.

FILE: A nurse conducts an HIV test at a voluntary testing centre. Picture: EWN

PRETORIA - Eyewitness News has learnt that the Libyan embassy in Pretoria has threatened South African staff, warning if they refuse to undergo medical tests, their salary for December will be withheld.

EWN revealed on Thursday morning that the Union for the Local Employees in Missions Accredited to South Africa (Ulemasa) has written to the Libyan Chargé d’Affaires, asking the mission to withdraw the unlawful instruction.

In terms of South African law, mandatory medical testing of employees is unlawful.

Ulemasa’s legal advisor Advocate Riaan de Jager has told EWN that South African staff at the Libyan embassy have now been threatened with not being paid if they refuse to submit to the medical tests.

A letter sent to staff last week states that, on instructions from the Libyan foreign ministry, staff must undergo HIV and Aids, tuberculosis and hepatitis tests.

De Jager warned the embassy that such an instruction is unlawful and it must be withdrawn.

But the embassy has seemingly disregarded the legal advice and has threatened its staff.

No one at the embassy was able to speak to EWN, while the International Relations Department has not responded to a request for comment despite committing to do so.

(Edited by Zamangwane Shange)