KZN Health head held hostage

2018-11-14 15:30
A file image of KwaZulu-Natal MEC for health Sibongiseni Dhlomo.

A file image of KwaZulu-Natal MEC for health Sibongiseni Dhlomo. (Ian Carbutt)

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The head of the KZN Department of Health, Dr Musa Gumede, was held hostage by members of the National Education, Health and Allied Workers’ Union (Nehawu) on Tuesday.

Gumede and the department’s senior managers were held hostage for hours by Nehawu members who demanded that MEC Sibongiseni Dhlomo be present at meeting that had been scheduled for Tuesday.

Dhlomo arrived about six hours later than the scheduled meeting time to find Gumede and senior managers in a stand-off with union leaders.

The group were demanding that the department withdraw warnings it had issued to the union’s members who had participated in protest in different health institutions in the province.

Nehawu deputy provincial secretary Mduduzi Chiya said their members had been victimised for taking part in demonstrations in various health institutions in the province.

Chiya said they would escalate the matter to Premier Willies Mchunu.

“You have failed us and that is why we are going to escalate the matter with the higher structure,” he said.

Nehawu regional chairperson and Cosatu provincial chairperson Sikhumbuzo Mdlalose said the department had until Friday to resolve all issues raised by workers at Fort Napier Medico-Legal Mortuary. “Beyond Friday, there will be war,” he said.

Mdlalose said workers had been promised increases since April.

Workers were working in unpleasant conditions which exposed them to risks of contracting diseases, he said. “There are hundreds of unidentified bodies that have been lying there since 2014.”

Nehawu regional secretary Zimasile Giyama said the health system in the province had collapsed. “There is management paralysis and we need an overhaul and restructuring,” he said.

Dhlomo apologised for arriving late in the meeting, saying he had been caught in an ANC meeting.

He said the department would investigate the issues raised by Nehawu members and respond to them by Friday.

Read more on:    pietermaritzburg  |  kzn health department
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