Story by: Motsieng Mooketsi
Matlosana“Klerksdorp: Members of the National Education, Health and Allied Workers Union “Nehawu” have made hospitals and clinics unworkable these past few days, the union says it has had enough of their demands being ignored.
Tshepong and Klerksdorp Hospitals are the best health facilities in the province and amongst the country’s public health care services. The management of the facilities have been frustrated by the strike and say they are not able to carry out their daily routines as usual.
Nehawu has been shutting down both hospitals and clinics in an attempt to have their demands met. Mr Tshepiso Zwem says they are tired of everything that is happening in the department of health, some of the issues he has pointed out include; the outsourcing of security, nurses, and cleaners from private companies. Zwem says the union has engaged with the regional and provincial structures before and they have not been assisted which prompted them to take their grievances to the president and currently they are happy with the developments that have been taking place between Nehawu, the president and minister of health.
It is alleged that some leaders within the political and trade union structures are beneficiaries of the system of outsourcing hence there hasn’t been any form of change that has taken place since 2014.
Thamsanqa Mbeba the PEC member of Nehawu, took swipes at the chairperson of the interministerial committee Sello Lehari for lying to the community and society at large after realising a media statement which states that there is progress in the meeting of a task team which is locked down in discussions regarding the 21 demands Nehawu has tabled forward. It is apparent that Lehari says there is progress and normality in the province. Mbeba addressed members of Nehawu outside Westend Building and told them that the MEC is lying and one demand out of 21 has been achieved, which is the suspension of the HOD of health Thabo Andrew Lekalakala.
Nehawu in the province says there is serious corruption in the public services and therefore called on the premier to resign.
When we visited Klerksdorp Hospital on friday we found out that clerks who work with patient files had gone to join the strike and many patients were struggling to receive their medical record in order to be assisted. When we spoke to some patients frustration was evident, the patients say they have been travelling to the hospital daily for the past few days only to be turned away due to the strike. One patients expressed his concern and said! “We have been inconvenienced by this strike and this puts our lives in danger, i wonder if these employees know the implications of their actions, what’s even is that there are patients coming from other parts of the province only to return home without their medication”
The strike is still on and members of Nehawu have vowed to continue throughout this following week.