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Cosatu: Move to level 3 lockdown must prioritise lives & livelihoods

Cosatu is one of the entities that President Cyril Ramaphosa will be consulting about the new measures.

A South African Police Service (SAPS) officer checks the permit of a taxi driver in the Cape Flats area of Cape Town, on 30 March 2020, during a patrol to enforce the 21-day nationwide lockdown in Sout Africa. Picture: AFP

JOHANNESBURG – The Congress of South African Trade Unions (Cosatu) on Thursday said that it welcomed the move to steadily ease the country’s lockdown to level 3.

However, the labour federation said that this was only on the basis that lives and people’s livelihoods would be prioritised.

Cosatu is one of the entities that President Cyril Ramaphosa will be consulting about the new measures.

While the wide-ranging consultations ahead of a level downgrade that the president spoke of were yet to take place, Cosatu has already given the COVID-19 command council the green-light.

This, however, does not come without conditions.

Cosatu said that the relaxation of restrictions to level to three should be accompanied by strict adherence by employers to health and safety directives, adding that this should include workers’ right to refuse to work in dangerous environments including where protective equipment is not availed.

This week, the Department of Employment and Labour revealed that only two out of five employers were adhering to the occupational health and safety regulations, raising concern about workers’ protection.

Cosatu also wanted government to address transportation issues, suggesting that a taxi subsidy would ensure that the industry sticks to social distancing rules while equally pleading for Metrorail to be given special attention before it is reopened.

Ramaphosa said that level 3 could kick in from 1 June, but this would only be implemented gradually after thorough consultation.

Some conditions to level 4 would also be eased in the meantime.

WATCH: Without the lockdown, at least 80 000 could have been infected by now - Ramaphosa

For official information about COVID-19 from the Department of Health, please click here.