Disgruntled hospital staff are ‘murderers’: Health Minister Aaron Motsoaledi
Health Minister Dr Aaron Motsoaledi refused to acknowledge a strike at the Charlotte Maxeke Hospital in Johannesburg and even called disgruntled staff murderers.
“If I could find a person working here as a cleaner or a general worker or whatever that has got the audacity to go into theatre and stop people from performing operations‚ that person is a murderer‚” Motsoaledi said.
“Strikes have got rules and they follow a particular pattern. This was just sheer acts of hooliganism where people have gone mad against their fellow human beings.”
He added: “Why should we trust such human beings? They are not human anymore.”
Motsoaledi addressed the media at the hospital on Thursday evening. He said 50 operations were planned for Thursday‚ but only 19 had materialised.
The protesting workers trashed the hospital in a dispute over unpaid bonuses.
Black bags containing rubbish ranging from paper to half-eaten food were emptied along the corridors‚ contaminating what is meant to be an hygienic environment.
Some patients were wheeled through the piles of rubbish by some of the non-striking workers. Others‚ with patches covering their eyes‚ were seen walking through the soiled corridors.
A revolving door had been blocked from the inside with a heap of metallic chairs. Outside the hospital‚ arriving patients – including pregnant women and some patients in wheelchairs – left the facility without seeking treatment.
“There’s nothing I can do. I will come back next week‚” said one lady as she boarded a taxi.
Earlier‚ the gates to the facility were locked in an attempt to contain the demonstrators.
Debris of rocks and tree stumps‚ paper and food also lined the road leading to the hospital. A small fire‚ which was dying out‚ released smoke into the air.
Motsoaledi said: “I don’t think anyone of us here has never been owed money in one way or the other by our employers‚ but you don’t destroy human beings‚ especially sick people in theatre.”
He added: “I don’t accept the fact that people had genuine grievances and they were supposed to have done what they have done. If we accept that as a society‚ then we can kiss civilisation goodbye.”
Earlier this month‚ the hospital’s spokesperson‚ Lungiswa Mvumvu‚ told Power Talk host Iman Rappetti that management had not paid workers performance bonuses for the past two financial years.
Gauteng Health MEC Gwen Ramokgopa said they were dealing with the outstanding bonuses.
“For me this is another Life Esidimeni unfolding and I hope that all of us as a society will stand up and say‚ ‘Not whilst we watch’.”
The hospital has returned to normal.