The City of Johannesburg’s Department of Public Safety on Wednesday August 5 launched an Employee Wellness Day at Klipriviersberg Recreation Centre in Kibler Park as part of an ongoing initiative to improve and sustain the staffers’ emotional, physical and financial well-being.
The initiative – the result of a partnership between the department and stakeholders such as NBC Personal Financial Services, Old Mutual Bank and Virgin Active – covers all staff members of both the Johannesburg Emergency Management Services (EMS) and the Johannesburg Metropolitan Police Department (JMPD).
“Wellness Day really includes a bit of everything,” said the Department of Public Safety’s Thato Legodi.
“This all ties in with our desire to create a motivated and productive workforce while learning more about the employees’ specific problems or concerns and what they expect from City,” she said.
The programme is not limited to officers on the ground but includes administrative staff and other employees of the two municipal-owned entities.
Legodi said financial wellness was an important part of the package as over-indebtedness among employees could negatively impact on productivity and even tempt them to accept bribes.
“These are some of the things we are all trying to avoid,” she said.
Elgina Ndhlovu, Director of Stakeholder Management and Compliance in the City’s Public Safety Department, applauded Hlula Msimang, Head of the Department for Public Safety in the City Manager’s Office, other heads of department as well as the leadership of both the EMS and JMPD for supporting the venture.
She said EMS and JMPD officers would benefit significantly from the programme.
“As members of the JMPD and EMS, you do a difficult and often dangerous job but are often stereotyped as being overweight or lazy. So, what we are saying to you is: If there is a negative perception out there, get your life in order and prove them wrong,” Ndhlovu said.
Keith Swanepoel, Chairperson of the Johannesburg Region of the Independent Municipal and Allied Trade Union (IMATU), also praised the initiative.
“We have a big number of JMPD and EMS employees in our union. They work under stressful and high-pressure situations. Often the stress does not go away when they go home. So, I think an initiative like this is of tremendous importance,” said Swanepoel.
Wellness Day is an expansion of an initiative launched by Member of the Mayoral Committee for Public Safety Clr Sello Lemao in October 2012, which is aimed at improving and sustaining the fitness levels of EMS officers.