On 1 May 2020, Human Rights Institute of South Africa (HURISA) issued Statement for observation of International Workers Day – 1 May Workers Day

The global community was caught unexpected by a daunting epidemic that is plunging humanity unabated worldwide. Sadly, this invisible is spreading fast around the world by physical interaction with people, gathering of people, and movement of people. COVID 19 has claimed lives of nearly a quarter million of people. It has devastated families, destroying the sacrosanct cultural practices known to have existed for many generations performed to honour the dead and to pay last respects. It has overwhelmed health systems, institutions, health workers, scientists, physicians, and pharmacists. The ongoing scenarios are holding the world at ransom. It has left world leaders with difficult decisions to make for saving lives. The commercial activities of countries are heavily overburdened and business is intensively affected. With movement of people constrained. Spirits are low, worship in churches, temples, mosques is prohibited, and schools are closed even sports. Only a few qualifying as essential service providers are permitted to open.

The pandemic impacts severely on livelihoods in vulnerable communities mostly surviving as informal traders. They face further risks in working in insecure environments with no fringe benefits like thirteenth cheques or bonuses, insurance, medical health care, pension fund or housing. It is an area where the true meaning of survival of the fittest and living from hand to mouth is a lived experience. It is sad that the harsh environments in which income is generated mostly affect Africans who voted African leadership in power. This picture is always dismissed by shifting blame on the legacy of economic inequalities. The question is how many billions and trillions of Rands meant for uplifting Africans disappeared under the noses of our own government with living conditions having worsened in communities, townships and the constantly mushrooming squatter camps. There is no way that workers living in such deplorable conditions can contribute to the wellbeing of people, including protecting their lives and practicing hygiene.

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Category: Media statement

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