Eastern Cape hospital hostages freed
Johannesburg - Two managers at the Nelson Mandela Academic Hospital in Mthatha were freed on Friday night after being held hostage for hours by disgruntled nurses, the Eastern Cape health department said.
The managers were released shortly before 20:00 after lengthy negotiations between the police and the nurses, spokesperson Sizwe Kupelo said.
The nurses, who were not armed, locked the managers in a boardroom around 11:00 because they were unhappy about the night duty allowances they were owed.
Kupelo said a list of nurses qualifying for the allowance had been submitted, but had to be resubmitted when it was found to contain mistakes.
"It was detected that the list was fraudulent. There were names of people who were on leave at the time."
This had caused a delay in payments. The correct list was finalised last Tuesday.
The nurses had expected to be paid this week, but Kupelo said they would be paid only next week.
After the hostages were released, the nurses involved tried to remove their colleagues, who were beginning the night shift, from wards.
"The department will take drastic steps against those who are compromising the lives of our patients," Kupelo said.