Striking health workers in Northern Cape urged to allow patients and nurses access to clinics

SABC News Nehawu Strike Twitter @ cosatu 1 1 - Striking health workers in Northern Cape urged to allow patients and nurses access to clinics

Northern Cape Health MEC Maruping Lekwene has appealed to striking community health workers to allow patients and nurses to have access to clinics.

Hundreds of community healthcare workers have embarked on a strike and have shut down clinics around Kimberley.

Workers, who have been on strike since last Wednesday, want permanent employment from the health department.

MEC Lekwene says patients must be allowed to get their medication.

“It’s unfortunate with the strike of Nehawu going on throughout the province, where our clinics have been closed, others forcefully, where our staff has also been disallowed to access.”

Community health workers in North West halt strike pending negotiations

Meanwhile, health services in the North West resumed on Monday after community health workers in the province went on strike last week. Workers affiliated to National Education, Health and Allied Workers Union (Nehawu) want community health workers to be permanently employed by the health department.

Community health workers affiliated to Nehawu in the North West embarked on protest action last week. They disrupted services at clinics and vandalised property. They say the provincial health department promised them permanent employment, but nothing has been done.

Secretary for Nehawu in the province, Patrick Makhafane, says more than 10 years has passed since they were promised that health workers would be absorbed by the department.

“Workers want permanent employment which is not delayed and until that is now delivered, really it will be very sad. You will not receive a stable service (sic) in the province and we are afraid and want to say this upfront. If two weeks (passes without) Job Mokgoro and Madoda Sambatha saying anything to us in relation to this matter, and in two weeks, if the president and the minister (do) not say anything in relation to this matter, Nehawu will then have to do programme, which will culminate in us switching off service delivery in public service completely.”

Spokesperson for the Health Department, Tebogo Lekgethwane, says negotiations with the union are ongoing.

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