Unions protest against Livingstone CEO
Emergency medical care, cleaning services and general patient assistance at the Livingstone Hospital were interrupted on Friday as cleaners, porters, nurses, ambulance drivers, medics and security personnel embarked on protest action at both Livingstone Hospital and the Emergency Medical Services across the province.
All four unions representing workers at the hospital embarked on full-blown protest action on Friday after their calls to have Livingstone Hospital CEO Thulane Madonsela removed during lunchtime protests on Wednesday and Thursday failed.
“We went to his office to see him and Dr Mojalefa Maseloa, but they ran away to hide at the Provincial Hospital,” one union member, who asked not to be named, said.
Ambulance drivers and medics also went on strike on Friday, threatening a total provincial shutdown of the ambulance service because of overtime and excess hours payments they said had been outstanding for four years.
Eastern Cape Democratic Nursing Organisation of South Africa (Denosa) general secretary Khaya Sodidi said four unions had joined the protest action.
He said their main demand was to have hospital management removed to stop nepotism.
“There is a gross shortage of clinical and non-clinical staff and management seems to be doing nothing about that, despite many calls by employees.”
Sodidi said unions were demanding a forensic investigation of the top management and for Madonsela to be suspended with immediate effect.
One of the employee leaders of the protest action at Livingstone said the four unions – Nehawu, Hospersa, Denosa and Sapsu (South African Security and Protection Union) – had joined the protest by Friday.
“There is an issue over a manager receiving a lot of money that wasn’t due to him. Also, they continue to employ people from KwaZulu-Natal.”
Livingstone Hospital board deputy chair Glenda Perumal said they were investigating the causes of the protest action.
“We want to ascertain the situation at the hospital and will develop an intervention strategy,” she said.
At lunchtime on Friday, ambulance practitioners (drivers and medics) went on strike at the Lindsay Road offices of the health department’s ambulance services.
“There will be no ambulances until they pay,” a spokesperson for the group said.
Madonsela did not want to confirm if he was at the Provincial Hospital and referred all queries to the department of health.
Department spokesperson Lwandile Sicwetsha said a team had been assigned to look into the allegations.
“However, the department is against any form of intimidation of its staff and illegal strikes by health professionals.”
Sicwetsha said ambulance personnel were not allowed to strike.
“We have been processing payments for them,” he said.
“The union now wants payment for overtime claims from 2003. We have undertaken to verify these claims,” he said.
However, the department is against any form of intimidation of its staff and illegal strikes by health professionals