Carers claim to be sick rather than face striking peers

Sne Masuku

Sne Masuku

The KwaZulu-Natal Health Department says nurses in the province's hospitals are increasingly malingering as the strike over unpaid rural allowances drags on.

The department is concerned about the sudden rise in the number of nurses claiming to be sick while the strike over unpaid rural allowances continues.

Spokesman Chris Maxon said they were investigating the sudden increase in nurses not reporting for work on the grounds that they were sick.

"It could be that nurses fear for their lives after receiving reports thatnurses were harassed at Edendale Hospital," he said.

Nursing assistants at Edendale Hospital, in Pietermaritzburg, allegedly stormed into wards on Saturday demanding that professional nurses join them in their labour action.

Professional nurses at Edendale apparently fear for their lives because they are not part of the strike.

Maxon said they were aware that strikers were harassing and intimidating non-strikers at Edendale.

He said hotspots such as Edendale Hospital would be "dealt with within the prescribed labour relations framework".

Spokesman for the nurses' committee, Makhehla Nyandu, said that the strike was far from over.

He said that professional nurses would join the strike soon.

"The professional nurses are having a tough time having to carry out the workload without the nursing assistants," said Nyandu.