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Union wants Ramaphosa to prevent 'new lows' in North West

FILE PICTURE: Nehawu protestors block staff access to Tshepong hospital.
FILE PICTURE: Nehawu protestors block staff access to Tshepong hospital.
Image: Katherine Child

Hospital workers’ union Hospersa has called on President Cyril Ramaphosa to step into the political crisis in the North West‚ which has crippled healthcare.

“We have reached a point whereby the President needs to prioritise the crisis at the NW Province‚” said Hospersa spokesperson Kevin Halama.

“Patient care is being compromised on a daily basis and the situation has become very desperate for the many communities that depend on public health care service. We fear that the recent announcement on the Premier’s non-resignation will spark further unrest and plunge the DoH to new lows.”

North West Premier Supra Mahumapelo had indicated on Tuesday that he would resign after weeks of violent protests over his rule. But a day later Mahumapelo backtracked‚ citing a decision by the ANC provincial executive committee.

Mahumapelo is reportedly on indefinite leave and has appointed finance MEC Wendy Nelson to stand in for him. Hospersa said the consequences could be disastrous. It said at least six clinics around Mahikeng were closed‚ causing a backlog at the Mahikeng Provincial Hospital. In Klerksdorp‚ all clinics have been closed since Monday‚ along with the Ventersdorp Emergency Medical Services (EMS).

Hospersa said their members had also reported being assaulted and intimidated when they went to work at the affected facilities.

“We are shocked by the recent turn of events involving the Premier and fear that service delivery will continue to deteriorate‚” Halama said.

“The situation in the NW Department of Health (DoH) has become very desperate for many patients that depend on public health care. The recent protests and the labour unrest have all but shut down the service delivery.”

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