Health MEC condemns protesters for 'intimidating staff and patients' at Durban hospital

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

The violent attack on a Durban hospital by protesters was completely unacceptable, KwaZulu-Natal Health MEC Sibongiseni Dhlomo said on Tuesday.

He condemned the 100 or so aggrieved community members who marched on the King Dinuzulu Hospital in Sydenham, damaging property and intimidating patients and hospital staff.

"They intimidated staff and patients and, for some time, ensured that hospital staff and those seeking medical attention could not enter the hospital. The protesters were ultimately prevented by members of the SAPS from entering the hospital."

Dhlomo said the protesters, from a neighbouring informal settlement, had damaged a gate and burned down a guard hut.

"They also damaged the palisade fencing and threw stones into the parking area alongside Howell Road - damaging two ambulances and a few cars that belong to staff."

He said the group did not submit a formal memorandum of grievances.

"However, it is believed that they are demanding that more people be employed by companies that are contracted to provide security, catering, cleaning and maintenance services at the hospital."

No excuse for violence

Dhlomo said there was no excuse for violence and thanked police for "quelling the situation".

"We are hopeful that they will do everything humanly possible to safeguard government property from thuggery and violent behaviour from people who want to raise issues in a violent manner."

He said the public could not expect to get what they wanted by burning buildings.

"It's like a person burning a school because they want a clinic to be built; or burning a clinic because they want a road. That behaviour is unruly, and we will not accept it at any given point," he said.

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