Non-strikers are targeted

Mhlaba Memela, Canaan Mdletshe, Vuyolwethu Sangotsha and Sapa

Strikers are now targeting their colleagues who have not heeded the call to join the nationwide stayaway.

This intimidation took an ugly turn in many parts of the country when strikers threatened non-strikers, including teachers and pupils from private institutions. Some non-strikers were even ordered to stop working.

In the Western Cape Nehawu threatened to completely shut down all public services tomorrow unless the government budged.

This call was supported by Sadtu in the province.

This action has been condemned by both the National Profession Teachers Organisation of South Africa (Naptosa) and Sadtu's Eastern Cape branch.

In Durban police were forced to protect doctors from protesters who barricaded the road leading to Inkosi Albert Luthuli Hospital.

Many health professionals were forced to down tools after protesters closed the main gate. The hospital only deals with critical patients after the closure of King Edward and Addington hospitals because of widespread intimidation and violence by strikers.

When Sowetan arrived at the scene, a large group of public servants were picketing outside the hospital.

They have threatened to attack RK Khan Hospital in Chatsworth and Mahatma Gandhi Hospital in Phoenix. Both are still operating.

Yesterday strikers also intimidated and threatened private-school teachers in and around Durban.

Businesses in Durban were hard hit by the continued strike. More than 3000 workers from Cosatu-affiliated unions brought the city to a complete standstill as they marched through West Street.

Some of the marchers carried a home-made coffin with a picture of Public Service and Administration Minister Geraldine Fraser-Moleketi.

Sipho Nkosi, Sadtu's provincial secretary, said the closing down of Ghandi Hospital was just the beginning.

"This is war, you shoot to kill, and that's exactly what we are doing today. We will be closing down all other public institutions like hospitals, schools and offices.

"There won't be any schools or teaching and we will shut down private schools as well," Nkosi said.

In a joint statement, Naptosa's provincial leaders Anthony Pierce and Estelle Nicholls described the intimidation as "unacceptable".

"It is totally unacceptable for educators to arrive at a school and suggest to management that the school should be closed, it is totally unacceptable that educators who are clothed in union dress should vandalise schools, it is unacceptable that persons out on strike should threaten pupils."

Eastern Cape Sadtu secretary Mxolisi Dimaza yesterday condemned the actions by striking civil servants who blockaded government offices in Bhisho on Tuesday.

About 300 striking civil servants picketed in Bhisho and blocked office entrances.