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Nehawu vows to continue fight in North West

Mzwandile Makwayiba

The National Education‚ Health and Allied Workers Union has vowed to continue to fight for its members to get what is due to them from the department of health in North West.

Nehawu held a march in Mahikeng on Wednesday to highlight the problems faced by health workers in North West where the workers were addressed by the union’s president‚ Mzwandile Makwayiba.

“Eight provinces are a problem. We are not paid our money. We are not paid things that we are entitled to. We want to tell those who think that we are lapdogs… that you are wrong. We are going to fight and this is a fight that we are prepared for…We are going to fight so that the national government of the African National Congress listens to us.

“Madiba said that when the government of the African National Congress does not listen to you‚ you must fight against the government of the ANC as you did against the apartheid government. That is the promise that we are going to keep‚” said Makwayiba.

Nehawu has been protesting in North West for unpaid performance bonuses for weeks. The protest by the health workers hit residents hard as residents were also protesting‚ demanding that Premier Supra Mahumapelo step down. Both protests have had a severe impact on public health in the province.

Makwayiba warned government to listen to its members.

“If you don’t listen‚ uzakwehlelwa yingozi (you will experience danger)‚” he said.

Earlier‚ the Democratic Nursing Organisation (Denosa) released a statement revealing the poor conditions faced by its members in North West.

Among these are decomposing bodies‚ electricity outages and water shortages.

"The situation has reached a point of no return for nurses who have been abused‚ exploited‚ neglected and deserted. The poor working conditions have seriously rendered the profession sub-standard service due to system failures aggravated by the corrupt government officials in the province‚" the union said in a statement.

It asserts that: - Patients are exposed to a non-conducive environment where beds are shared because of congestion. - In terms of nutrition‚ patients are eating bread and mince meat. - There is no water in some of the sub districts‚ which affects maternity patients severely. - There are no medication supplies for chronic patients. - Non-functionality of backup generators when electricity goes off‚ which exposes patients’ lives to danger.

And that's not even the worst of it‚ the nurses say.

"Nurses are salvaging the situation by using their cell phones and torches to deliver babies in some of the provincial hospitals in the province‚" according to Denosa.

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