W Cape strike disruptions minor

2010-08-30 19:17

Cape Town - Only 83 of the 28 067 employees of the Western Cape department of health were on strike on Monday, authorities said.

They represented a mere 0.2% of the workforce, the provincial health ministry said.

As a result, most health facilities remained unaffected.

Western Cape health minister Theuns Botha said a group of strikers prevented emergency and trauma patients from entering the Gugulethu Community Health Centre during Monday morning.

"Services were restored after immediate (police) intervention, and by midday services were running smoothly," he said.

The province's education ministry said there had been a decrease in school closures and teacher absenteeism since Friday.

Ninety schools, 5.7% of the total, were closed on Monday because of strike action, and 15% of educators were absent from work.

On Monday morning, officials at the Cape High Court said most criminal trials had been postponed because interpreters had joined the strike.

Strikers assembled on the steps of the court singing and holding signs demanding an 8.6% wage increase and a R1000 housing allowance.

Judge Anton Veldhuizen, who was presiding over a murder, rape and robbery trial, told his court that he had tried to do everything he could to make sure an interpreter was present, but had been unsuccessful.

Veldhuizen said the case would be postponed to Tuesday in the hope that an interpreter would be available.