Hospitals in Swaziland refused to treat poverty-stricken workers affected by poisonous fumes at a textile factory because they could not afford to pay.
Meanwhile, the Swaziland Government said the number of workers exposed to the fumes was 1,600 – more than treble the number previously reported by the Trade Union Congress of Swaziland (TUCOSWA).
Jim Wang, a spokesperson for Tex-Ray was quoted by the Observer on Sunday newspaper in Swaziland saying that the doctors had refused to give medical attention to some of the workers because they did not have money.
Wang said ‘I told them we would give them the cash after they had attended to the employees.’
Minister of Labour and Social Security Winnie Magagula was quoted in local media saying, ‘We have received a report on the catastrophe at the factory. A total of 1,600 employees were exposed to the fumes from a spilled chemical.’
She added, ‘Currently we do not have more information on the deadly substance, we are yet to conduct thorough research on its effects and the cause of its spill.’
Magagula also told the newspaper the chemical was spilled in the clothing mixture room and that a full report that would disclose its name, effects and the extent of damage it had caused was awaited.
‘POISON FUMES STRIKE 500 WORKERS’