Vi­o­lence blamed on ‘mis­man­age­ment’

Afro Voice (KwaZulu Natal) - - News - LER­ATO DIALE ler­a­tod@afro­tone.co.za

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.

PIC­TURE: FACE­BOOK

DAM­AGE: Gla­dys Bo­gosho, CEO of Char­lotte Max­eke Hos­pi­tal.

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