by Jack Bloom MPL – DA Gauteng Shadow MEC for Health
The situation at Charlotte Maxeke Johannesburg Hospital has calmed down this afternoon, after severe disruption by protesters this morning.
I visited the hospital and found rubbish strewn all over and the remains of burnt-out fires.
Non-emergency surgery has been cancelled and most patients have left the hospital.
I was told that protesters threatened staff and patients and in once instance, pulled doctors out of surgery while a patient was on the operating table.
Hospital security locked wards for the protection of staff and patients.
The Police were called in to stabilize the situation.
Management has spoken to the unions who denied their involvement but undertook to speak to the workers.
The grievance relates primarily to unpaid bonuses for 2016 and 2017 – most of the protesters were general assistants.
This follows the trashing of the hospital a month ago, after which the Gauteng Health Department promised to address worker grievances.
I deplore the violence at the hospital which has been most traumatic for patients and staff. The Gauteng Health Department should have resolved worker grievances more speedily.
Protest action has included other hospitals including Leratong Hospital on the West Rand and Bertha Gxowa hospital in Germiston.
Violence in hospitals should never be condoned no matter the grievance, and perpetrators must be brought to book.