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Fri May 27 12:25:35 SAST 2016

Mpumalanga education department workers go on strike over black mambas, pythons

Eric Mashaba | 24 March, 2016 09:41
Black mamba. File photo.
Image by: Gallo Images/Thinkstock

The fear of mambas and pythons has led to workers at Mpumalanga’s regional education department embarking on a strike that has dragged for three weeks, forcing the department's MEC to attend to the matter.

The strikers, including human resource and exam officials, have refused to go back to work at Ehlanzeni education district's offices in Kanyamazane near Mbombela because they don't feel safe.

“Some of our colleagues ran for their lives after coming across a big black snake while on their way home on the bush route from the offices towards the township. An official’s child also ran for her life after seeing a python while walking at the back of the buildings. Security guards stationed at the premises killed a big mamba recently, which appeared inside their guard house. Luckily the guards spotted it before one of them got bitten,” said one of the workers.

During the visit to their offices, this reporter was advised not to use the bush route after the big black snake was seen again by other people.

Not only are the workers afraid of the snakes, they also have to deal with five aggressive dogs that are always seen around the premises.

Provincial education spokesperson Gerald Sambo said MEC Reginah Mhaule visited the offices recently to assure the workers that their concerns were being attended to.

“The the processes (to clear the bush) were already underway through the Department of Public Works, Roads and Transport before the workers went on strike. The MEC made a commitment that all their challenges will be attended to and work has already commenced, of which part of it will be completed by April 5. We are going to work around the clock to ensure that we create a conducive working environment for our employees,” said Sambo.

- African Eye News Service

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