South Africa’s power utility Eskom is likely to find itself in the dock for negligence after its employee, Thembisile Yende, went missing and her dead body was discovered in her office at the company’s premises, the Pieterboth substation in Springs.
The grisly discovery was made after her family had pressed the alarm bells in a search that went viral on social media (See embedded video). The family is putting blame at Eskom for the death of their daughter. The National Union of Metal Workers of South Africa (NUMSA) has thrown the word negligence into the mix.
Reports say the body of the 30 years old woman was discovered by colleagues who were alerted by the smell of a decomposing corpse locked inside her office. The body is said to have been “wrapped in a black plastic refuse bag”, suggesting that murder is at play.
The deceased brother, Mboneni Yende, was quoted saying “Eskom has killed my sister… Eskom needs to tell us exactly what happened to our sister.”
Apparently CCTV cameras were off at the premises.
Eskom spokesperson, Khulu Phasiwe, was quoted saying the company is still conducting an investigation to get to the facts.
The case raises a question of occupational safety and security. The Occupational Health and Safety Act (OHSA) demands of the employer to provide and maintain a working environment that is safe and without risk to the health and security of its workers.
Numsa general secretary, Irvin Jim, said Eskom and the police must leave no stone unturned in their investigations.
Jim added that “We hope the investigation will shed light on whether Eskom was indeed negligent in the manner in which the death of our member was handled…
“Adding to our dismay as a union is that a previous ‘investigation’ by Eskom yielded nothing and it would seem the employer got relaxed because he saw her vehicle in the car park…
“We also want answers on why the surveillance cameras were not operating at the time of her untimely death…