doctors stand firm

SOUTH Africa is on the verge of the biggest strike by public service doctors, unless something dramatic happens today.

SOUTH Africa is on the verge of the biggest strike by public service doctors, unless something dramatic happens today.

Doctors have indicated that if government failed to meet their demand of a 50 percent salary increase across the board tomorrow, state hospitals would be left without medics this week.

They said yesterday that they were going ahead with the strike despite court interdicts issued against them and warnings from the Health Professions Council of SA.

Yesterday meetings were held in various provinces to discuss the way forward.

"We have not set a specific date for mass action but there are provinces that will shut down today and others will provide minimum services.

"Mpumalanga and KZN have said no doctors would be working tomorrow.

"Eastern Cape, Gauteng and Limpopo were expected to make a decision later today," said Lebogang Phahladira, president of South African Registrars' Association.

Doctors have been staging sporadic strikes since April.

l Anna Majavu reports that Cosatu in Western Cape has thrown its weight behind the doctors' strike which began at Cape Town's Groote Schuur hospital on Friday.

This happens in the wake of a Cosatu statement released in KZN at the weekend calling on doctors to return to work.

According to the United Doctor's Forum the Groote Schuur doctors are to continue the strike today.

Dr Lydia Cairncross, a Groote Schuur surgeon, said all the city's day hospitals are on strike and Tygerberg Hospital would start striking tomorrow.

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