South African Govt Seeks Legal Advice On Patients Who Died During Health Workers’ Strike

The South African government says it’s seeking legal advice over the patients who died possibly as a result of strike action by The National Education, Health and Allied Workers Union (Nehawu) members.

Health Minister, Joe Phaahla, says four patients have died since services were disrupted at various hospitals, eNCA reported.

Nehawu members embarked on a wage strike that has disrupted hospitals and government offices across the country. 

Nehawu’s Western Cape provincial secretary Baxolise Mali told striking Nehawu members on Wednesday that the lives of the people are the government’s responsibility. Mali told strikers outside the Khayelitsha District Hospital in Cape Town:

The employer says people are dying. It is not our responsibility to keep people’s lives.

In the Eastern Cape, department of health spokesperson Yonela Dekeda said hospitals were being run by a skeleton staff, GroundUp reported.

In Tshwane, striking workers closed down the offices of the department of public service and administration, shouting and insulting some workers who were inside the offices.

There was a stand-off between the striking workers and police, as the workers closed off Hamilton and Edmond Streets with huge stones and turned cars away. Police moved the workers away.

Free State health spokesperson Mondli Mvambi said the province had obtained an interdict on Wednesday morning to prevent strikers from disrupting services at hospitals and clinics. “The order does not stop the strike but stops acts of intimidation, violence, disruptions and instigating.

In the North West, services in at least six hospitals were disrupted by the strike. There were pickets outside several other clinics and hospitals.

Limpopo health spokesperson Neil Shikwambana said, “We do not have reports of disruptions in any of our facilities so far.”

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