Health Deputy Minister Dr Sibongiseni Dhlomo has described the conduct of some striking members of National Education, Health and Allied Workers Union (Nehawu) as behaviour that borders on barbarism.
The industrial action has been linked to the deaths of at least four patients, although the Department of Health says it is still investigating.
It has given Nehawu members until Tuesday morning to return to work or risk facing disciplinary action.
The union is demanding a 10% wage increase while the government is offering 4.7%.
Dhlomo says he doesn’t understand why the striking workers have resorted to violence.
“How on earth can you prevent workers [from] getting into the hospital, dragging patients out of beds and burning tyres. You can’t have a situation like that where you are blocking the premises of the health facility that you can’t get an ambulance to collect or drop patients.”
“That one was actually totally unacceptable. Even if you were not an essential worker, you just do not block. You can’t be part of removing staff members who are willing and are available to support other citizens in the country, who need help,” adds Dhlomo.
Union plans next move following court interdict: