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Pretoria hospital blockaded with burning tyres

10 May 2018 - 10:01 By Timeslive
Steve Biko Academic Hospital. File photo.
Steve Biko Academic Hospital. File photo.
Image: Thulani Mbele. © Sowetan

Protesters blockaded the entrance of the Steve Biko Academic Hospital in Pretoria with burning tyres on Wednesday‚ the same day that strikers blockaded two hospitals in the North West.

Jack Bloom‚ a Democratic Alliance member of the Gauteng legislature‚ said on Thursday that according to the Steve Biko hospital’s acting CEO‚ Dr Mathabo Mathebula‚ the violence was perpetrated by former private security guards who were dismissed last year for misconduct and are demanding to be reinstated.

Police were called to disperse the protesters and a case of malicious to property has been opened.

This violence at a major hospital follows the trashing two weeks ago at the Charlotte Maxeke Johannesburg Hospital where police also had to be called in.

"It is shocking that there is such disrespect for a place of healing which should not be disrupted under any circumstances‚" said Bloom.

"I commend the police for restoring order‚ and I hope the perpetrators appear in court soon.

"Anarchic activities that target hospitals should be curbed speedily and firmly."

On Wednesday‚ the blockading of two hospitals in the North West by protesters was decried by parliament’s Select Committee on Social Services‚ with chairperson Cathy Dlamini saying patient care had to take top priority.

Doctors were prevented from entering the Tshepong and Klerksdorp hospitals‚ TimesLIVE reported.

Dlamini said ambulances were also being prevented from entering the hospital grounds at Tshepong.

“The provision of life-saving services to patients should always take priority above any discontent‚” she said.

Staff in the North West have been staging rolling protests against a shortage of healthcare workers and alleged corruption in the department. Community workers and counsellors have also joined them in protest against low remuneration.

“While we are all concerned about these serious allegations‚ robbing patients of life-saving care can never be justified. We encourage constructive engagement on platforms put in place to deal with the matter‚” said Dlamini.

The committee called for intervention from the departments of health at national and province level‚ as well as the South African Police Service.