The Chairperson of the Portfolio Committee on Health, Dr Kenneth Jacobs, has called upon government and the labour unions to find solutions to the wage disputes which have led to the ongoing strikes and violence at certain hospitals.
Dr Jacobs said the strike denies South Africans their constitutional right to genuine healthcare services, as patients are unable to access surgeries and dispensaries, among other things. Furthermore, desperately sick hospitalised South Africans and those referred to hospitals by clinics are to receive healthcare services, due to the ongoing disruptive strikes.
Dr Jacobs said the parties involved in the wage impasse need to find an amicable arrangement so that healthcare workers can go back to work. “We urge the parties, NEHAWU and the employer, to find immediate solutions to the dispute,” urged Dr Jacobs.
Whilst we understand the right of employees in the public sector to affiliate themselves with trade unions and to strike in accordance to the labour relations laws of the country, it is important to note that healthcare is an essential services and patients should not be deprived of access to healthcare. Personnel participating in the strike should not intimidate healthcare workers through violent behaviour or forcibly remove staff from their workstations, added Dr Jacobs.
Dr Jacobs praised healthcare workers, such as interns, doctors and specialists, who work in areas of the value chain to ensure that patients are taken care of so that the system does not collapse.
Distributed by APO Group on behalf of Republic of South Africa: The Parliament.