Frontline staff series: Caring for each other can build a stronger bond


The Occupational Health, Safety and Environmental Management System (SHE) team Donevin Lesch, Xolisa Lubambo and Nokuzola Sukwana has been key role-players during lockdown, ensuring safety and health in line with national regulations.  These are their stories.

It’s all about personal hygiene and discipline

SHE Manager Donevin Lesch, 47, is a newcomer to the University as he joined the team in September this year.

He says “the ability to assist staff and students during the time of the pandemic is what I enjoy about my job.

“We have learned that personal hygiene and discipline can sometimes be the difference between life and death.  Caring for each other can build a stronger bond through the spirit of Ubuntu.”

As the manager, Donevin is responsible for providing and implementing the SHE system at the University.  He also assists and guides line managers to function and regularly does internal audits in terms of SHE.

During lockdown, he has been actively involved in the Corona Task Team to ensure compliance with COVID-19 legislation and to provide guidance on the Health and Safety protocols to be in place at all University facilities.

Xolisa Lubambo, 40, has learnt that life can change anytime but what is important is to work hard to get positive results in any situation. 

“I enjoy the fact that we are working as a team with other departments to manage the protection of our staff and students”, she says.

As SHE officer she conducts risk assessments and SHE inspections in all departments in the University, including labs and off-campus residences.  Xolisa also does SHE awareness, training, fire drills, and participates in all University events such as Campus Life and Freshers Carnival, to monitor SHE compliance and she conducts SHE briefings for all management meetings.

During lockdown, she has been organising the Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) for all staff and students returning to the University and is doing health and safety as per regulation for COVID-19.

SHE officer Nokuzola Sukwana, 42, enjoys her job because it keeps her engaged and excited as she works hard to maintain the level of trust.

“I have learnt that being able to remain positive and look at things with optimism is an invaluable life lesson. The more I improve my outlook, the less the small things affect me, and the better I’m able to handle challenges in both my professional and personal life. As a result, I find myself happier and more content no matter the situation,” she says.

During lockdown, Nokuzola developed a SHE plan for the phased return of employees to the workplace before the re-opening of the institution.  She also did a risk assessment to apply measures required by the specific circumstances at the University and ordered and issued PPE to students and staff returning to campus. Her general duties include incident investigations, health and safety plans, programmes and procedures, the preparation and implementation of the Site Safety and Health Plan and assisting in the establishment of workplace safety and health committees.

Both Xolisa and Nokuzola have been at the University for two years.