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Patient dies during strike in Klerksdorp hospital

Patient dies during strike in Klerksdorp hospital.
Patient dies during strike in Klerksdorp hospital.
Image: 123RF/Lucian Coman

A patient died as doctors could not attend to emergencies due to an ongoing strike in Klerksdorp‚ North West.

The situation has calmed down after ambulances and medical staff were prevented from entering the Tshepong hospital in Klerksdorp on Wednesday.

Dr Ebrahim Variava‚ who works at the hospital‚ said a patient died as they could not attend to the emergency.

“The patient‚ who was stabbed on the neck‚ ended up dying because we were blocked from attending to them. I am not sure if their injury was related to the strike. Another one with a gunshot wound survived because the [patients] were later transferred to another hospital when the protestors left‚” Variava said.

Variava said because they could not attend to some patients and had to turn them away‚ they will have to see them on Monday.

“As a contingency plan we had a helicopter drop staff into the hospital‚ but the protestors noticed and came in. They then dispersed the [staff] and chased them out of the hospital. Doctors were removed from wards even‚” he said.

He believes that the people engaged in these actions are a group of “opportunistic thugs”. Variava is pleading with the silent community members to help stop the lootings and disruption of health service provision.

The doctor said the intimidation and violence by the protestors has left young doctors in the hospital traumatised. “We have been doing this job so it’s not so heavy on us‚ but it’s been traumatising for young doctors. We will need to speak to them.”

A resident of Jouberton‚ who did not want to be named‚ said shops belonging to foreigners are being looted. “Last night around 21:30h the rampage went worse in different sections of our location. Tyres were burned on almost every street corner or fourway stop and they started looting Somali shops‚ robbing‚ beating and all sorts or wrong things happened overnight.

“This morning they went to the Choppies complex and looted it. These lunatics have succeeded. I guess the deployment of police was inadequate‚ as everywhere they went police came late. And police fired rubber bullets the whole night when we were sleeping‚” said the man.

Some of the shops looted were Lewis‚ OK furnishers and a pharmacy‚ he said. He said most of the looters were unemployed youth.

North West police spokesperson Lieutenant Colonel Sabata Mokgwabone confirmed the lootings and violence in the area.

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