Mahikeng medical depot staff stage 'sit out' over safety concerns

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North West Health MEC Madoda Sambatha.
North West Health MEC Madoda Sambatha.
Rapula Mancai
  • The North West health department confirms that a "sit out" has taken place at the Mahikeng medical depot.
  • Workers vowed not to return to work until they see the Health MEC over their concerns.
  • According to a source, the Health MEC met with workers on Tuesday afternoon.

The Mahikeng medical depot is staging a "sit out" over concerns about safety in the workplace, the North West Department of Health has confirmed. 

"The department is aware of the fact that the medical depot staff has been on a sit out refusing to work. Only the managers were on duty. They refused to work until they see the MEC," spokesperson Tebogo Lekgethwane told News24 on Tuesday.

This comes after a strike took place on Monday and workers vowed to continue until they were addressed by Health MEC Madoda Sambatha.

According to the provincial health department, the workers are raising concerns around safety in the workplace.

"The medical depot has, however, indicated that they have done everything to ensure safety and compliance with Covid-19 prescriptions.

"When it was clear that the issues they raised about safety and Covid-19 compliance were being addressed, they changed and brought a list of disgruntlements, which include a lack of structure to accommodate all of them," he added.

Sambatha subsequently agreed to meet with the workers.

READ | Covid-19: North West records 266 new cases in 24 hours, bringing the total to 17 604

The health depot is provincial and supplies medication to all the hospitals, according to a source who believes the "strike" has allegedly compromised healthcare in the province.

News24 has learnt that Sambatha addressed the workers around 15:30 on Tuesday and the meeting is said to still be ongoing. 

The department has since appointed an acting pharmaceutical head, and two sections of supply chain management procurement have been strengthened and is overseen by a deputy director.

In addition, the finance section is now led by a director, according to the health department.

"All preparations have been done to ensure maintenance backlogs, proper physical distancing, PPE provision, proper office working environment. 

"This has been done in ensuring 100% resumption of operations at the depot," he concluded.

More to follow.

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