Health workers hit back at critics after chaos at Jo’burg hospital

01 June 2018 - 14:12 By Naledi Shange
Protesters invade Charlotte Maxeke Academic hospital in Johannesburg on May 31 2018. t is believed the protests are being led by the National Education, Health and Allied Workers’ Union (Nehawu) who say workers are protesting a long-pending dispute over unpaid performance bonuses. They say the hospital has made several empty promises.
Protesters invade Charlotte Maxeke Academic hospital in Johannesburg on May 31 2018. t is believed the protests are being led by the National Education, Health and Allied Workers’ Union (Nehawu) who say workers are protesting a long-pending dispute over unpaid performance bonuses. They say the hospital has made several empty promises.
Image: ALON SKUY

Some people used social media on Friday to hit back at critics who said that striking employees had compromised medical care at Charlotte Maxeke Academic Hospital in Johannesburg.

“You people tweeting from the comforts of your offices don’t know what we go through in our 12 hour shifts & the conditions we work under! The vandalism is uncalled for but we’ve beeeeeen trying to negotiate with the DoH. #TotalShutDown I say #CharlotteMaxeke‚” tweeted YourFaveNurse.

Another person agreed: "I see a lot of people speak from positions of privilege and ignorance. You have NO idea how dysfunctional the Gauteng DoH is. You have no idea! #CharlotteMaxeke‚" she tweeted.

"You’re hypocrites because you all studied to get a job and get paid- what’s so different about Nursing‚ did I not study and am I wrong for expecting to get paid? Please‚ tell your government to pay us and fire Aaron‚" added YourFaveNurse‚ referring to Health Minister Aaron Motsoaledi.

Hospital employees emptied rubbish bins and black bags containing half-eaten food‚ empty wrappers‚ discarded patients documents’ and stickers containing patients’ details‚ breathing masks and other items in the hospital’s corridors.

The workers were protesting over the non-payment of bonuses for two consecutive years and the department’s reported delays in paying out for overtime.

A doctor‚ employed in the government sector‚ said although doctors faced the same problems as the striking employees‚ they did not go to the extreme to express their frustration.

“I'm a doctor working in public. I haven't been paid my overtime salary on time a single month this year... I work 2-3 weekends/month and 8 overnight shifts... But I don't go around destroying the hospital’s property to get paid‚” she tweeted. 

“South Africans will literally look for any reason not to work and be lawless. So many more effective ways to protest than destroy a public hospital ... But then again‚ any other way wouldn't be destructive enough right. Sies‚” she continued. 

Others‚ however‚ differed with this doctor’s views.

“Some of us worked in hospitals. If the dept of health can save more than R400m from Esidimeni contract‚ they can surely pay workers‚” retorted Phaswane Bernard Mai.

“STOP blaming workers but the officials who careless about the pts they talk about. Workers are tired of empty promises. We need change...‚” she added. 

The situation was returning to normal at Charlotte Maxeke hospital on Friday‚ but workers from some other government hospitals in Gauteng downed tools.


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