Sacked HIV/Aids sufferer let off after Numsa intervention

Dismissed and anguished father of two is recovering in style from HIV/Aids- related sickness after being given a temporary reprieve by his employer.

Jabulani John Ngwenya, aged 38, who was summarily dismissed by the locomotive manufacturing company in Nigel when his family doctor booked him off- sick for three months for tuberculosis has been allowed to undergo treatment for six months.

Ngwenya was forced to instantly disclose his HIV status after he became sick for a week. And the National Union of Metalworkers of South Africa (Numsa) came in time after he was left to die in desolation. He is now recovering on anti-retroviral drugs at his home.

Now the Industrial Locomotive Services has agreed to help him claim his sick fund with immediate effect from the medical aid provider after he had exhausted stipends in his unemployment insurance fund in the Labour Department.

He was told to report this week for further medical check-ups with the company medical physician or face permanent dismissal if he was found unfit to resume his duties. His job entails driving extra-heavy duty and long- distance delivery trucks.

The union has temporarily withdrawn its case of unfair discrimination in the Labour Court against the company after management decided to allow Ngwenya to recuperate for the next six months before he was required to report for work.

Ngwenya’s dilemma had aroused the ire of most labour unions, community organizations and advocacy groups after the company stopped his wage payment of R3 900 a month.

We have since vowed to fight to the bitter end in court or in the streets the attitude of unprincipled employers who preyed on low- income employees’ vulnerability in the workplace.

For further information contact:

Mziwakhe Hlangani, Numsa national spokesperson

Cell phone: 082 9407116