Arrests must be made following chaotic hospital protest, says Health Minister

The National Education, Health and Allied Workers’ Union provincial chair Lulamile Sibanda says they are demanding payment of bonuses and increases dating back to 2016.

FILE: Health Minister Aaron Motsoaledi. Picture: GCIS.

JOHANNESBURG – Health Minister Aaron Motsoaledi has described the protest at the Charlotte Maxeke Academic Hospital as unacceptable and says arrests need to be made.

The minister is also visiting the Johannesburg facility.

Motsoaledi walked through the hospital with Gauteng Health MEC Gwen Ramokgopa to see the extent of the damage.

Motsoaledi says Thursday’s attack on the sick and vulnerable is unacceptable.

“This is not an act of labour, but that of pure hooliganism because labour law exists in the country and they should know.”

Motsoaledi confirmed that a doctor was mishandled while carrying a baby and he’s calling for arrests to be made.

“One doesn’t go to a hospital for a picnic, they go there because they are ill.”

He says out of the 50 operations scheduled for Thursday, only 19 were done due to the protest.

DR ASSAULTED

Earlier, Ramokgopa confirmed a doctor was assaulted during Thursday’s chaotic strike at the hospital.

The MEC visited the Johannesburg facility on Thursday afternoon after hundreds of protesters forced patients out of the hospital, damaged equipment and infrastructure and blocked entrances.

Staff are demanding higher wages and bonuses they claim are owed to them.

They’ve threatened to bring services at Charlotte Maxeke Hospital to a standstill if the government ignores them.

Ramokgopa says she’s disappointed by the behaviour of some staff members.

“The theatre was thrashed beyond the red light where we have to be sterile. At the pharmacy, the doors were kicked. Patients were left traumatised as well as without their medication.”

BONUSES AND INCREASES

The situation at the Charlotte Maxeke Hospital is calm at the moment. Protesters have dispersed, leaving the corridors of the hospital filled with rubbish.

Surgical gloves, food and medicine labels can be seen among the rubbish as patients and staff begin to move through the hospital.

The National Education, Health and Allied Workers’ Union provincial chair Lulamile Sibanda says they are demanding payment of bonuses and increases dating back to 2016.

“Members here, are rejecting the current offer, and are demanding outstanding bonuses dating back to 2016/17 financial year.”

He says if their demands aren’t met by 3 June, they will embark on a strike that will bring the provincial healthcare system to a standstill.

(Edited by Zamangwane Shange)

Source: EWN

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