Free State health care workers sleep over

2014-07-09 22:22

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Johannesburg - Free State health care workers on Wednesday staged an overnight sit-in at the province's health headquarters known as Bophelo House, said the Treatment Action Campaign (TAC).

TAC general secretary, Anele Yawa, said they were joining the health care workers in the demonstrations, which were expected to continue until Thursday.

"This sit-in signals the start of a campaign of civil disobedience in the Free State," Yawa said in a statement.

He said it would be a peaceful demonstration.

The sit-in came after their efforts to address the provincial health department through meetings and letters had failed.

"In parallel to the civil disobedience campaign, we are also exploring the potential of litigating against [health MEC Benny] Malakoane and the Free State department of health," said Yawa.

"We would have preferred to avoid litigation, but we have exhausted all other avenues."

The group was demanding that Free State Premier Ace Magashule remove Malakoane from his position.

"If Magashule is not willing to do this, we call on the ANC's national leadership to intervene."

The TAC claimed that Magashule had responded to a letter it had written to him.

Retire at 50

"His response was evasive and showed no understanding of the crisis in the province," Yawa said.

The disgruntled health care workers were also calling for the immediate reinstatement of some of their dismissed colleagues. It was unclear why they had been fired.

They also wanted changes within the health department and for it to go public on its financial problems.

This was the second overnight sit-in held by the health care workers in as many weeks.

They staged another sit-in on 26 June, demanding clarity from Malakoane after he reportedly suggested that health care workers without matric would need to obtain matric certificates before rejoining the health care programme. He also allegedly stated that those who were over the age of 50 would need to retire.

The workers were also demanding their salaries after they were not paid for two months.

Read more on:    tac  |  bloemfontein

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