Govt takes hard line on disruptive strikers

2010-08-20 22:27

Johannesburg - Striking public servants shut down schools, blocked roads and barricaded hospitals for a third day on Friday, prompting Health Minister Aaron Motsoaledi to accuse them of the "murder" of emergency patients.

Among those turned away from hospital was a 21-year-old man, who needed emergency surgery to re-attach his hand after it had been chopped off.

Neither Charlotte Maxeke and Chris Hani Baragwanath hospitals in Gauteng could take him in.

Motsoaledi went to Baragwanath, along with 60 qualified doctors and nurses, to volunteer his services after saying strikers had lost their humanity.

"If somebody gets into an operating theatre where somebody is being operated on and wants to disrupt somebody who is vulnerable, who is on life-support - in exercising certain democratic rights (to strike) you get in there and disrupt - that's murder," Motsoaledi said.

"I'm not surprised but shocked, extremely shocked at the willingness to murder because you can't have that kind of country."

"It shocks me that there is any living, normal South African who thinks like that."

He said many hospitals around the country had reached crisis point and he saw no reason why he could not help patients.

"Being a doctor is like driving... after 16 years out of the profession, my hands are still on."

The strong words from Motsoaledi and other ministers reinforced the state's message that it would not back down in its latest stand-off with labour.

On Thursday, the government said it would implement its final wage offer of a 7% increase and a R700 housing allowance, regardless of unions' response, and President Jacob Zuma reminded public servants that the state could fire them if they kept up the strike.

It also vowed not to tolerate violence.

More clashes

Friday saw more clashes between strikers and police, drawing more angry condemnation from others ministers.

Rubber bullets were fired and water sprayed at protesters in several areas countrywide, including the M1 highway in Johannesburg where workers blocked the road.

Public Administration Minister Richard Baloyi to accuse strikers of "trampling on people's rights".

Labour Minister Membathisi Mdladlana said violence and intimidation could "easily destroy the credibility of trade union movements".

"These acts of intimidation are a clear indication of a failure by trade unions to convince and persuade their members," said Mdladlana, adding that "social dialogue" was the best way to resolve differences.

Government said soldiers would stand guard at the hospitals to protect medical staff and patients trying to cross picket lines.

In addition, SA Military Health Services medics were providing emergency care at six strike-hit hospitals in Gauteng and KwaZulu-Natal on Friday, the SA National Defence Force (SANDF) said.

At the request of the department of health, SA Military Health Service members were at Natalspruit, Chris Hani Baragwanath and Helen Joseph hospitals in Gauteng.

In KwaZulu-Natal they were at the King Edward and Mahatma Ghandi Memorial hospitals.

In the Western Cape, the strike appeared to affect Tygerberg, GF Jooste and Groote Schuur hospitals to a far lesser extent than those in Gauteng, despite a claim that by the National Education, Health and Allied Workers' Union (Nehawu) that it had "totally shut down" the facilities.

The provincial government also said the "vast majority" of schools in the Western Cape were functioning on Friday.

Teachers unions had boasted Friday boasted that schools around the country had shut down "completely".

The Gauteng provincial government was granted an interdict by the labour court on Friday to stop striking public servants from intimidating health workers.

"The court ordered government employees who are on strike to immediately refrain from intimidating, harassing or interfering with other employees and management from continuing with their work," the office of premier Nomvula Mokonyane said in a statement.

- SAPA
Read more on:    richard baloyi  |  membathisi mdladlana  |  aaron motsoaledi  |  jacob zuma  |  education  |  health  |  strikes
NEXT ON NEWS24X
SHARE:

Read News24’s Comments Policy

 

Inside News24

 
/News
 

Five wrapping hacks you have to know before Christmas

Five gift wrapping hacks that will save Christmas for you!

 
 

I love summer.24

Sexiest Instagrams of 2014
Joburg hot spots for cocktails, craft beer, tapas and wine!
Summer Survey!
Great ideas for the best summer sandwiches!

Jobs in Cape Town [change area]

Property [change area]

Travel - Look, Book, Go!

Kalahari.com - shop online today

Grand Theft Auto 5

Now available on PS4, Xbox One and PC from R649. Buy now!

Festive gifts!

Check out our awesome range of festive gifts to make everyone’s wishes come true. Shop now!

Save on Samsung

Cameras, mobile phones, TVs, Tablets and more. While stocks last. Shop now!

Save up to R2200 on electronics! – As seen in the catalogue

Wishing for tech gadgets this festive? Save up to R2100 on hot tech products at kalahari.com. While stocks last. Shop now!

30% off the bestselling books

Save big on the most captivating reads of 2014. While stocks last. Shop now!

OLX Free Classifieds [change area]

Samsung Galaxy s4

Mobile, Cell Phones in South Africa, Western Cape, Cape Town. Date October 24

Best bargain in big bay

Real Estate, Houses - Apartments for Sale in South Africa, Western Cape, Cape Town. Date October 25

VW Golf 6, 1.6 Trendline (Excellent condition)

Vehicles, Cars in South Africa, Western Cape, Cape Town. Date October 25

Horoscopes
Aquarius
Aquarius

The energy today is serious, materialistic and hardworking. You may find you get a new outlook on things and you may want to spend...read more

There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.
 
English
Afrikaans
isiZulu

Hello 

Create Profile

Creating your profile will enable you to submit photos and stories to get published on News24.


Please provide a username for your profile page:

This username must be unique, cannot be edited and will be used in the URL to your profile page across the entire 24.com network.

Settings

Location Settings

News24 allows you to edit the display of certain components based on a location. If you wish to personalise the page based on your preferences, please select a location for each component and click "Submit" in order for the changes to take affect.








Facebook Sign-In

Hi News addict,

Join the News24 Community to be involved in breaking the news.

Log in with Facebook to comment and personalise news, weather and listings.