‘Board must consult’

2013-09-25 00:00

THE McCord Hospital board has till October 9 to show why the hospital should not have to adhere to an interdict application to stop the dismissal of personnel, and why consultations with the relevant unions should not continue.

In the midst of this, both the provincial Health Department and the National Education, Health, and Allied Workers’ Union (Nehawu) have called meetings today to discuss the issue.

Nehawu’s statement said they will discuss the closure of the hospital without proper consultation, while the department said they have an announcement to make about the hospital.

Yesterday, Judge Edwin Molahlehi ordered the hospital to submit papers in this regard to the Labour Court by October 1.

The urgent sitting, on a public holiday, lasted for about five hours, with legal representatives from unions Nehawu, Hospersa, Denosa and Sama making their submissions. They have applied for an interdict to stop the board from retrenching workers.

The unions also want the hospital to be taken over by the KZN Health Department.

There was some confusion in court when state lawyer Anand Choudree questioned why the unions cited the state as one of the respondents.

Molahlehi said other parties that wish to respond, should do so by October 3.

Workers yesterday vowed to continue to attend to emergency cases until the court makes a final ruling. The hospital will remain closed, with only the emergency unit operational.

Meanwhile, the ANC leadership in KZN has called on provincial government to find a solution regarding the acquisition of the hospital and avoid further disruption of services rendered there.

“Health remains one of the ANC’s priorities and the party consistently champions equitable and universal health services as required by the Constitution and the Freedom Charter,” spokesperson Senzo Mkhize said in a statement.

“The ANC therefore does not wish to see this very important health institution close its doors.”

His statement came after the ANC KZN held its provincial working committee (PWC) meeting on Monday.

Negotiations between the department and hospital board of directors broke down when they could not agree on the terms of the acquisition of the hospital by government.

Last Friday, the hospital board closed down the hospital, a move that prompted trade unions to take the matter to court to force the board back to the negotiating table and stop the retrenchment of workers.

On Monday, Finance MEC Ina Cronjé called for an independent valuation of all McCord Hospital’s buildings.

Nehawu provincial chairperson Thobile Nkosi said they were happy with the court outcome and all developments, including Cronjé’s suggestions. She told workers to remain in their post every day and continue to attend emergency cases.

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