'Low' strike total in Western Cape

2010-08-27 22:38

Cape Town - Only 106 of the Western Cape's 28 067 health workers were on strike on Friday, authorities said.

Provincial health ministry spokesperson Hlne Rossouw said about 20 staff picketed at the entrance to Tygerberg Hospital during the day, but did not cause any disruptions.

At Mowbray Maternity, Groote Schuur and Somerset hospitals there was no picketing, and patients were attended to, she said. Services were also normal at Khayelitsha Site B Community Health Centre.

Provincial health MEC Theuns Botha said that throughout the strike, fewer people had visited state health facilities, and patients were waiting longer to be attended to.

However, services had continued "and we have been able to offer the full complement of services", he said.

Absenteeism decrease

The Western Cape education department said there had been a decrease in school closures and teacher absenteeism in the province since Thursday.

Ninety nine schools were closed on Friday, 0.3% of the total, and 18.9% of teachers were absent as a result of the strike, it said.

Earlier, Western Cape education MEC Donald Grant said the province was determined to press ahead with the September exams despite the strike.

"The exams will go ahead as scheduled," he said. "This decision has been taken in the best interests of learners."

He said the exams formed part of the year mark, which was included in final national senior certificate results.

The results also provided important feedback to pupils ahead of the final exams and were used by Grade 12 pupils in applying to institutions of higher learning.

"Any extended delay of the exams would therefore prejudice the interests of learners," Grant said.

He said that despite the ongoing strike, most Western Cape schools continued to function as normal.

At those schools there was no reason to deviate from the exam schedule.

His department would however on a case-by-case basis "manage" those schools and areas which had been worst affected by the teachers' strike.