Cape Town – President Cyril Ramaphosa said on Thursday expressed concern over the “violent nature” of the ongoing strike by members of the National Education, Health and Allied Workers Union (Nehawu).
Ramaphosa said this while appearing before Parliament in Cape Town for his quarterly question-and-answer session.
According to Eye Witness News, the president said that workers had the right to strike but that right was not “absolute”.
“We are all concerned about the violent nature of the strike that is under way. Workers in our country have the right to freedom of association, they also have the right to strike, but that right is not absolute. It’s not absolute because there are certain workers who are in essential services,” the report quoted Ramaphosa as saying.
Earlier, Health Minister Joe Phaahla said at least four people may have died as a result of the ongoing nationwide strike.
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“At least four people are likely to have lost their lives in a manner which we can attribute directly to the strike. We have a legal team which we are consulting to look at what are our options in that regard,” Phaahla said.
The strike entered its fourth day on Thursday, with Nehawu members demanding a salary increase of 10–12% while the government is offering offered 4.7%.
On Wednesday reports said that an ambulance transporting a critically injured child was attacked by striking nurses at a KwaZulu-Natal hospital.
According to News24, paramedics had been transporting the child on advanced life support to the hospital when protesters stopped the ambulance.
Protesters reportedly attempted to remove the child from the ambulance and assaulted one of the paramedics, the report said. The child was eventually admitted to hospital and treated.
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Compiled by Betha Madhomu