Newcastle Municipality has issued 15 municipal employees with precautionary suspension letters for failure to wear face masks and flouting COVID-19 restrictions.
According to the Municipality’s communications department, the precautionary suspensions afforded the employees 48 hours to give substantial reasons why the Municipality should not pursue disciplinary processes. Furthermore, the communications department explains, “The municipality strongly believes that the exercise gave the employees an ample opportunity to self-introspect and take into consideration that a deadlier Coronavirus third wave can only be minimised by a responsible citizenry, and a much more responsible frontline workforce.”
The staff have allegedly acknowledged the seriousness of their offence.
With the threat of the third wave, the Newcastle Municipality states municipal staff are expected to be exemplary and exercise extraordinary precaution, more than the ordinary resident whom they must serve at all material times. “The institution’s offices service a large populace of Newcastle, including the elderly and individuals with comorbidities, who are at a greater risk of succumbing to COVID-19.
Following the precautionary suspension of the employees, the Communication Department says it is with sadness; it announces that a few days ago, a municipal staff member succumbed to COVID-19. In addition, five other staff members are currently quarantining at home after being diagnosed with the virus. The department emphasises, “It is for this reason that the Municipality will not make any apologies for tightening COVID-19 regulations. Such stringent measures are put in place for the sake of our staff and the residents of Newcastle. It is illogical to relax COVID-19 rules at the Municipality, and the Municipality will not under any circumstances allow its buildings to become epicenters of the pandemic.”
As a place working with the public daily, the Municipality claims it is firmly cognizant that a meaningful contribution in enforcing Coronavirus regulations starts with the Newcastle Municipality.
With this in mind, the Communications Department states, “The offices are currently undergoing vigorous disinfection, under the watchful eye of the Acting Municipal Manager, Vish Govender, who has spent the entire day monitoring the chemical cleansing of all offices, in particular the rates hall.”
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