Health Minister Joe Phaahla said that the deployment of defence force members to some hospitals in Gauteng was not in retaliation to Nehawu intensifying its strike, Eye Witness News reports.
#NehawuStrike Minister Joe Phaahla on the deployment on the army. @motso_modise pic.twitter.com/VIlVHFmzVK
— EWN Reporter (@ewnreporter) March 13, 2023
Nehawu says the Labour Appeals Court has only interdicted essential service workers from continuing to be part of the public servants’ strike.
Therefore, their strike will continue, SABC reports.
“The strike in its totality has not been interdicted. It is a component of the essential service that has been interdicted. The strike will continue and it is protected. What the judge has done today was to interdict the essential component of it and we intend to comply with that whilst we explore our options,” the reported quoted Nehawu president Mike Shingange as saying.
The health department has welcomedthe court judgment that puts an end to the strike by Nehawu.
According to eNCA, the department’s spokesperson says the judgment brings much-needed relief.
‘Aas the department we welcome the court ruling that strike action by Nehawu is interdicted with immediate effect,” spokesperson Foster Mohale said.
“We believe this will bring some form of stability in health facilities across the country. This is a victory for innocent and vulnerable patients who’ve suffered consequences of this strike, we believe Nehawu would inform their members to return to work as soon as possible,” the report quoted spokesperson Foster Mohale as saying.
The South African military said on Monday it had deployed its medics at several hospitals to minimise disruption during a public health care workers strike that government blames for several patient deaths.
“We received a request from the health minister to assist with the ongoing strike and to make sure services are ongoing and there is minimum disruption,” Phillip Makopo, spokesperson for the health service branch of the South African National Defence Force, told AFP.
“The military healthcare practitioners were deployed on Wednesday … (last week) to hospitals as determined by the DOH and will remain deployed as may be required,” a SANDF statement said Monday.
Health Minister Joe Phaahla has said that at least four patients have died “in a manner that could be directly attributed to the strike”.
The SA National Defence Force Media Statement || Monday, 13 March 2023 || The SA National Defence Force deploys Military Healthcare Practitioners to assist the Department of Health during the Public Service Association strike.#SANDF#JointOperationsDivision#DCCMediaLiaison pic.twitter.com/Ua55zl4S13
— SA National Defence Force (@SANDF_ZA) March 13, 2023
Last week, patients were prevented from accessing healthcare by striking workers who blocked entrances at various hospitals.
Phaahla told local media that troops would also help secure access to health facilities.
On Monday morning AFP reporters saw four soldiers positioned near the Thelle Mogoerane hospital, southeast of Johannesburg, while police patrolled the entrance.
Services at various public hospitals have been affected since nurses, cleaners and support staffers downed their tools last Monday demanding better wages.
National Education, Health and Allied Workers’ Union (NEHAWU) called the strike after wage negotiations with the government collapsed.
Members of the SANDF are stationed outside the Thelle Mogoerane hospital in Vosloorus , as protest action by NEHAWU continues pic.twitter.com/K59DixgR3U
— The Star (@TheStar_news) March 13, 2023
Unions are demanding a 10 percent pay hike amid rising living costs, but the government has offered just 4.7%.
On Monday a labour court ordered the industrial action be halted with immediate effect, but the strikers – dressed in red union colours – continued picketing and chanting outside some hospitals.
The strike is the latest of woes piling up on President Cyril Ramaphosa’s government, which is battling an unprecedented electricity shortage.
In October workers at Transnet, state rail and port logistics firm, went on a weeks-long strike that badly crippled the economy of the continent’s most industrialised country. – AFP
The outpatient department at Durban’s Inkosi Albert Luthuli Hospital has been closed after striking staff, some brandishing sticks, blocked the entrance of the facility, Times Live reports.
“They have blocked the main entrance to the hospital building and are singing with sticks in their hands.
“The outpatient department had been closed as a result.
“This will have a big impact because patients won’t be able to come in or leave. More nurses have said they will join at lunchtime.
“There has been a lot of absenteeism as well,” the report quoted an unidentified staff member as saying.
JUST IN: The Labour Appeals Court has interdicted Nehawu from continuing with their strike pic.twitter.com/sVB5aigaYq
— Jacaranda News (@JacaNews) March 13, 2023
The Labour Appeal Court has interdicted any industrial action by trade union Nehawu, its members and employees.
The order is applicable with immediate effect, News24 reports
“The court further ruled that Nehawu’s members and all essential service employees are prevented from continuing with or participating in any such strike, picket, or any other form of industrial action.
“The union was ordered to inform its members and officials across the country about the ruling by no later than 13:00 on Monday,” the report said.
[WATCH] Nehawu has been ordered to end its wage strike. The Labour Court has upheld the interdict against the protest, pending an appeal. Newzroom Afrika’s @nobuhlemodise has more.#Newzroom405 pic.twitter.com/uXolkuMIce
— Newzroom Afrika (@Newzroom405) March 13, 2023
The Secretary of the Critical Care Society of Southern Africa, Professor Fathima Paruk, says that the situation has reached a crisis point, SABC reports
“What we can really see is that around the country – there are problems at our healthcare facilities in terms of healthcare workers not being able to perform their duties.
We’re also seeing reports of association with loss of life- and what is very worrying for us is that if you look at critical care- and now if you add on an already constrained, pressurized environment – disruptions, take away resources like nurses, and have added burden of a greater number of ICU admissions- the system just will not hold,” the report quoted Paruk as saying.
Newzroom Afrika reports that the KwaZulu-Natal (KZN) Health Department has beefed up security at facilities around the province, as Nehawu intensifies its strike action.
The KZN Health Department has beefed up security at facilities around the province, as NEHAWU intensifies its strike action. Last week’s industrial action was characterised by violence and intimidation at some institutions. @nobuhlemodise reports.
Watch: https://t.co/tfVEfeWna1 pic.twitter.com/X71E9WJUQB
— Newzroom Afrika (@Newzroom405) March 13, 2023
Members of the South African National Defence Force (SANDF) remained on high alert on Monday, as they manned entry points at the Thelle Mogoerane Regional Hospital on the East Rand in Ekurhuleni.
According to Eye Witness News, the hospital is one of the hardest hit by Nehawu strike
Operations at the Thelle Mogoerane hospital were brought to a complete halt last week, as Nehawu affiliates blocked hospital staff from entering the premises.
On Monday morning, soldiers clad in their camouflage and helmets were stationed at the entry points in a bid to restore calm, the report said.
JUST IN: The SANDF are stationed out Thelle Mogoerane hospital in Vosloorus. This after some hospitals across the province were blocked due to the #NehawuStrike
Saps together with EMPD are also outside the hospital searching each car before entering. #eNCA pic.twitter.com/x1IypyDApG
— Heidi Giokos (@HeidiGiokos) March 13, 2023
Minister of Health Joe Phaahla has hit back at Nehawu after the union accused him of pushing a political agenda. This was after Phaahla released a report linking the deaths of four patients to the ongoing protests.
According to eNCA, the minister claimed that children were among those believed to have died.
“I heard the president of Nehawu yesterday saying it’s propaganda… It’s not propaganda. I mean when people come to hospitals it’s because they need hospital help. If that medical help is non-existent… I mean we accept that even under the best circumstances, illnesses do lead to deaths… But when that happens, it’s when medical staff have tried everything – whatever interventions.
“But when that intervention is denied deliberately so because the people who are must provide the care are prevented from entering the health facility, what do you call it?
“There is nothing propaganda or political about it. It’s just a matter of fact,” Phaahla said.
Health Minister Joe Phaahla is hitting back at NEHAWU for accusing him of pushing a political agenda. This after Phaahla released a report linking the deaths of 4 patients to the ongoing protests. #DStv403 #eNCA pic.twitter.com/MfZJLFZ2Nc
— eNCA (@eNCA) March 13, 2023
As the wage dispute rages on, Nehawu’s general secretary, Zola Sapetha has threatened to take legal action against the government and intensify the strike.
“If no new agreement is reached 31 March 2022 on the 2022/23 salary adjustment, this non-pensionable cash allowance shall remain in force until a new agreement is entered to by parties.
“There was no agreement 2022 on the 2022/23 salary adjustment and, therefore, the employer is once again in violation of the agreement it has signed,” EWN quoted Sapetha as saying.
Cape Town – The Minister of Health Joe Phaahla has expressed his disappointment after the National Education, Health and Allied Workers Union (Nehawu) vowed to escalate its strike action.
The protest started on Monday, 6 March, with union members demanding a salary increase of 10–12% while the government is offering 4.7%.
Speaking during a media briefing on Sunday, Nehawu said: “It is important to confirm that Nehawu continues with the strike in a more intensified manner as from tomorrow, Monday, the 13th March 2023, to demonstrate to government the seriousness with which we take the concerted efforts to underplay the role and significance of public servants who are at the coalface of service delivery.”
But, according to eNCA, Phaahla said he was disappointed by the union’s declaration and called “for peaceful and non-violent action to allow non-striking healthcare personnel to exercise their constitutional right to work without being intimidated or victimised”.
Reports on social media said on Monday that members of the South African National Defence Force (SANDF) were stationed outside the Thelle Mogoerane hospital in Vosloorus where operations were brought to a complete halt last week.
CEO of Thelle Mogoerane Provincial Tertiary Hospital, Dr Michael Malaka, told the media that the hospital was severely affected.
WATCH: Dr Michael Malaka, CEO of Thelle Mogoerane Provincial Tertiary Hospital explains how the facility was impacted by the national strike. pic.twitter.com/7sZNtKyY47
— Gauteng Health (@GautengHealth) March 13, 2023
“… All our outpatient departments were closed… unfortunately the theatre also had to close because we had no staff. Martenity was also closed… That’s how serious the situation was last week,” said Malaka.
South African National Defence Force soldiers have been deployed to to the Thelle Mogoerane Regional Hospital on the East Rand.
The hospital has been the hardest hit by the National Education, Health and Allied Workers Union strike demanding a 10% wage increase. pic.twitter.com/HuTFovp0Ce
— The Legal SA (@TheLegalSA) March 13, 2023
#NehawuStrike Health Minister Dr Joe Phaahla and Gauteng Health MEC Nomantu Nkomo- Ralehoko having a briefing outside the Thelle Mogoerane Hospital where the army have been deployed to join the SAPS and EMPD officers at the facility @TeamNews24 pic.twitter.com/8WgCq5pxqH
— ntwaagae Seleka (@ntwaagae) March 13, 2023
#NehawuStrike Members of the SANDF have been deployed to the Thelle Mogoerane Hospital in Vosloorus. They’ve joined EMPD and Saps manning roadblocks at all entry points leading to the hospitals. All vehicles and pedestrians were searched before entering the facility @TeamNews24 pic.twitter.com/yiFfJvdQw2
— ntwaagae Seleka (@ntwaagae) March 13, 2023
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Compiled by Betha Madhomu