North West MEC for Health Madoda Sambatha, has condemned the shutting down of the Christiana Hospital by the nursing staff including some health personnel.

Health workers at the hospital embarked on tools down over the weekend, demanding to be paid over-time and night shift allowances, leaving patients stranded.

Christiana Hospital is a district hospital which renders a 24 hour service and mostly serves Lekwa Teemane local municipality and other surrounding areas.

However, since Friday, health services at the hospital have not been accessible to the public and this has negatively impacted patients, with some having to be discharged prematurely while others were transferred to Bloemhof.

National Education, Health and Allied Workers’ Union (Nehawu) says they had no other option, but to go on strike.

The union’s deputy regional chairperson in the region Tebogo Kwati says the action by its members was to attract the attention of the provincial health authorities.

Kwati says, “If it was not for this action, it would have been business as usual. Two or three managers of the district would have come here and play hide and seek to our members, but we did not want members from the district we wanted the MEC.”

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Sambatha has condemned their action as illegal and unprocedural.

“There was no reason for them to leave the community health or to leave the hospital. They render 24 hour services and in actual fact, we must be very strict on an element that, with a blink of an eye, workers decide to withdraw labour even procedurally and later claim we were aggrieved. There are labour relations in South Africa, which stipulates provocation and you act on that, and that must be followed.”

Samabatha engaged striking workers on Monday night and urged them to return to work, promising that their demands will be addressed before the end of the week.

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