The Office of the Public Protector is set to investigate complaints from a group of former National Energy Corporation of SA (Necsa) employees against the nuclear energy giant.
The employees are accusing the nuclear power station for various illnesses which they allege are a direct result of the radiation they were exposed to while ‘on the job’. They have organised themselves into a formal group which is headed by Alfred Sepepe.
The 58-year-old chairperson said most These allegedly ailing workers told Hartbeespoort News that they, and their loved ones, have suffered ‘severe health risks’ after working at the nuclear plant, near Phelindaba.
These (affected) workers have organized of the workers, all of whom have served at Necsa at some time or the other, are suffering from various diseases, including lung and kidney cancer.
Sepepe, who had previously worked as a machine operator … for some 14 years … said Necsa’s nuclear radiation had caused tremendous health problems in his life – much as was the case with other colleagues.
“I was healthy before I started working for that company,” he alleged during an interview with Hartbeespoort News. “Since I have been working there though, I have been in and out of hospital, suffering from various diseases.”
This father of three claimed that, as a result of one particular illness he endured, he underwent an operation during which one of his testes was removed … to prevent the spread of a growth.
He explained how his doctors had also told him that the cause of his illness was radiation.
Sepepe is now part of the group of over 80 former Necsa employees who want Necsa to be held legally accountable for the health hazards they were exposed to during their tenure at the company (and also ‘the loss of beloved ones’).
Hartbeepoort News has learned that the former workers have engaged professional legal aid as they seek to claim compensation from their former company.
In documents in possession of Hartbeepoort News, there is proof that these complaints have also been forwarded to the Office of the State President, Jacob Zuma, and also referred to the Minister of Energy Affairs, Dipuo Peters.
In response to a query from Hartbeespoorl News, Elliot Mulale, communications and media manager for Necsa, remarked that the company was ‘not aware of any health risks suffered by employees due to exposure to radiation’.
He also alleged, “Necsa’s facilities operate in such a way as to ensure that individuals are not exposed to radiation levels in excess of international dosage limits.”
Former employees, he concluded, are welcome to approach Necsa for their medical records … ‘but this information will only be provided on receipt of their full contact details’.
Former employees have alleged that Necsa would not allow them to consult private medical practitioners during their terms of employment. They alleged that they were instead referred to on-site doctors by the company.
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