K‘Litsha medics picket

2016-04-21 06:00
 Paramedics at Khayelitsha District Hospital are livid and are calling out their management.  PHOTO: Mandla Mahashe

Paramedics at Khayelitsha District Hospital are livid and are calling out their management. PHOTO: Mandla Mahashe

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Paramedics at Khayelitsha’s District Hospital have resorted to lunch-hour pickets to raise awareness of their plight.

They have even marched from the hospital to the Harare police station in protest over disagreements with the province’s Emergency Medical Services.

According to their shop steward Zukisa Mabengu , they have a long list of grievances against management but safety concerns topped the list.

“Local paramedics are under attack from thugs looking for tablets.

According to them, criminals fake an injury, and call out for help, but on arrival, the paramedics are pounced upon and robbed of their possessions, including cellphones and the tablets.

“Paramedics are being lured by criminals only to be robbed of these tablets as well as their cellphones,” said Mabengu.

He said that there have already been four cases of robbery reported by paramedics.

The staff said the GPS system instituted by management for effective place location was not up to scratch.

“The system is very slow, it does not positively affect our work. The management said that the system was to improve our work but it hasn’t. The money spent on the system should rather have been spent on actual medical equipment such as oxygen masks and ventilators,” he said.

Mabengu also accused management of unfair labour practices and unfair dismissal.

“EMS has a high rate of dismissals which we are taking to the CCMA because when you speak out, management shows you the door. I am facing a tribunal after I was fired for not renewing my PDP even though there is no policy that says this is dismissible offence.

Some of the picketers carried aloft placards that read: “Stop nepotism!!! at EMS,” “Phantsi nge ambulance ezingena zixhobo zoku sebenza,” “No black managers to all the divisions,” “Down with cheap labour,”.

Makhaya Chekwa, Nehawu provincial organiser, said that the union has tried to get management to address some of the issues but they have failed.

“We have even tried to get the premier’s office involved, but when they came to us they had already sided with management and nothing came out of those talks.

Unfortunately our members are essential service provider and cannot strike,” he said.

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