Government and NEHAWU must put an end to ‘illegal’ strike affecting healthcare services in Mpumalanga

Issued by Jane Sithole, MPL – DA Spokesperson on Health: Mpumalanga Province
15 Mar 2023 in Press Releases

The DA in Mpumalanga calls on the Government and the National Education, Health and Allied Workers’ Union (NEHAWU) to find common ground and end the Union’s illegally declared strike as it affects services in the province, especially healthcare.

It has been reported that patients in Maternity Wards of Tonga, Shongwe, and Rob Ferreira hospitals are forced to help others give birth as healthcare workers who are not on strike are denied entrance to those hospitals by members of NEHAWU who are on strike.

Healthcare workers and other staff members who are affiliated to NEHAWU have been on strike since March 6 demanding a 10% salary increase, but the employer is offering only 3%.

The DA is concerned that the on-going strike will lead to more lives lost loss of lives.

On its judgement on Monday this week, the Labour Appeal’s Court said that the NEHAWU employees are restrained and prevented from continuing with any industrial action.  

We call on the South African Police Service to do their part and urgently act against any NEHAWU member who disrupts services in any Healthcare Institution especially now that their strike has been interdicted by the Labour Appeal’s Court.

The DA also takes cognizance of the statement released on Monday by the Mpumalanga Department of Health that “there will be delays in the payments to service providers due to the NEHAWU labour unrest”. The department went on to say that the strike has consequently affected the turnaround time for processing all payments of invoices for services rendered.

The DA is concerned that the delay in payments of service providers might affect hygiene in healthcare institutions – as essential service providers like laundry and cleaning services might also refuse to work if they are not paid.

The DA requests Government and NEHAWU to go back to the drawing board and come to an agreement that would end the strike to prevent any loss of life that can occur in healthcare institutions as a result this illegal strike.