Statement of PQ Properties Ltd. Concerning September 19th, 2018 Workplace Incident Involving Mr. Nhlanhla Dlamini
In response to the recent media coverage PQ Properties Ltd. wishes to make the following statement:
We have been advised through our counsel that Stacy Dlamini has indicated that Mr. Dlamini is recovering well and we wish him a full and successful recovery. We take all our employees’ safety and wellbeing very seriously. PQ Properties Ltd. has policies in place respecting workplace safety as well as harassment and bullying. We denounce any discriminatory behavior of any kind in the strongest terms. As confirmed by the Dlamini family in various media reports, no report was made to PQ Properties by Mr. Dlamini alleging unsafe working conditions and/or harassment and/or bullying prior to the incident on September 19th. In the event a complaint had been received it would be addressed immediately and we would have investigated in accordance with company policy. In response to the statements made to the media by Mr. Dlamini subsequent to the incident, PQ Properties Ltd. has made arrangements to hire an outside consultant to conduct a work place assessment to ensure that we are providing a safe and secure working environment.
PQ Properties Ltd. also wishes to reiterate that representatives of PQ Properties attempted to transport Mr. Dlamini to the hospital. Mr. Dlamini was responsive, alert, and mobile and stated that he did not require any further medical attention and asked to be taken home. Mr. Dlamini was clear that he did not wish to be taken to hospital. Mr. Dlamini and his mother have confirmed that he refused transportation to the hospital. Immediately following the incident a PQ Properties representative contacted the emergency contact that Mr. Dlamini had provided to the employer when he was hired. The individual was advised of the incident and advised that they should attempt to have Mr. Dlamini attend the hospital as he was refusing to attend. It is our understanding that this individual did take Mr. Dlamini to the hospital. The emergency contact person subsequently thanked the PQ Properties representative for contacting them and insisting that they transport Mr. Dlamini to the hospital. PQ Properties did not transport Mr. Dlamini to the hospital as Mr. Dlamini is 21 years of age and was clear in his direction that he did not wish to seek medical treatment. His direction must be respected by the employer. His request was listened to and respected.
On the evening of September 19th the RCMP advised PQ Properties that it had opened a criminal investigation concerning an incident on one of our job sites. The nature of the allegation and investigation were not communicated to us. As a result PQ Properties ceased the collection of further internal statements including that of Mr. Dlamini. It appears that our decision to not contact Mr. Dlamini for an incident report has been construed by his family as being dismissive of Mr. Dlanini’s position and his injury. In our opinion contacting Mr. Dlamini during the ongoing RCMP investigation would not have been appropriate and may even be detrimental to the investigation and due process.
In addition it was certainly not our intent to minimize Mr. Dlamini’s injury and we certainly apologize for any misunderstanding in this regard. Unfortunately at the time of our initial statement to the media our spokesperson was unaware that the injury had progressed significantly from what was noted at the job site.
On the date of the incident Mr. Dlamini had not indicated on the job site or during his transport home that he had been the victim of a crime or that he had been harassed or bullied. Based on media interviews it appears that he had also not made any such complaints to his family prior to September 19th. We understand that he has stated his reasons for not doing so in media interviews; however from the employer’s perspective on the afternoon of the incident we had no indication from Mr. Dlamini or any other witness present that anything other than a workplace accident had occurred. We hope and expect that the RCMP have conducted a full, fair and complete investigation for the benefit of all parties involved and our community.
As a result of the media coverage of this incident, the principals of our company have been the subject of nearly constant threats to their safety and property. Despite the fact that Mr. Dlamini and his mother have confirmed that we had no complaint of any unsafe or discriminatory work environment prior to the incident we have been labelled a company that condones a racist and discriminatory work place. We have been forced to shut down job sites due to ongoing threats and our employees have suffered as a result.
In summary we again wish Mr. Dlamini a full and successful recovery and ask that the public please respect the due process of our justice system.
B. Craig Clarke
Legal Counsel- PQ Properties Ltd.