Violence blamed on ‘mismanagement’
MORE than R2m in losses was incurred by Charlotte Maxeke Academic Hospital as a result of the recent violent protest by workers.
The figure could run in excess of about R3m as the hospital is still waiting for the water bill.
This emerged during the enquiry by the South African Human Rights Commission into the protest action.
The enquiry comes after workers went on a strike over unpaid performance bonuses, dating two years back.
Hospital CEO Dr Gladys Bogoshi testified that the violent protest which led to disruption of services came as “a surprise”. Bogoshi said while they were aware that workers were angry over the unpaid bonuses, the events that occurred during the violent strike were totally unexpected.
This despite various peaceful lunch hour pickets outside the facility, a march by labour unions where a memorandum of demands was handed over to the department and Premier David Makhura’s office.
When asked by the chair of the inquiry, Buang Jones, if the memorandum was not a sign of the workers’ anger, Bogoshi insisted that the protest was a surprise.
She said she was shocked at the events that took place that day.
Nehawu provincial deputy secretary Gracia Rikhotso testified that there were warning signs that workers were getting angry as employers had been negotiating in bad faith.
Rikhotso said despite the payment of bonuses being a policy of the department, they were made to negotiate for a lengthy time and set in countless meetings over the issue.
She has hit back at the testimony of officials, saying a lack of foresight from officials was to blame.
Rikhotso also testified that this was not the first time that unions had been at loggerheads with the department over the payment of bonuses citing a 2010 dispute over the payment of bonuses, saying in her lengthy service in the health sector she had never witnessed “something like that”.
Earlier on, acting head of the department Dr Mkhululi Lukhele testified that the department was not in a position to pay out the bonuses due to financial strain exacerbated by the Life Esidimeni project to relocate psychiatric patients to safe facilities following the aftermath of the tragedy when 144 patients died.
Nehawu hit back at both Lukhele and Bogoshi’s testimony saying the violent protest was because of poor management by all officials concerned.
DAMAGE: Gladys Bogosho, CEO of Charlotte Maxeke Hospital.