Department of Health MEC Sindiswa Gomba had to put out fires on Monday after Komani Hospital workers who had been on strike since the previous Thursday evening, demanded provincial officials address them.
The police threatened to use rubber bullets when demonstrators blocked the gateway, preventing vehicles from leaving or entering the hospital premises on Friday.
Gomba demanded the hospital’s acting CEO, Mzingizi Tshaka, and the management team table an explana- tion as to why trees in the hospital premised had been looted and allegedly sold to a factory.
The MEC questioned why hospital mowers worth R70,000 had disappeared without the knowledge of the security companies paid to operate surveillance cameras at the premises.
The hospital had bought the machines to cut the cost of service providers cutting the grass at the facility. She also inquired why some employees were placed on probation for as long as four years.
She said she was also informed about Tshaka having spent R53,000 on accommo- dation at the Queens Casino and Hotel.
“The acting CEO has to explain.”
The demonstrators were demanding provincial officials address their demands following recent protest action. The Rep reported “Nehawu demands hospital to account for money spent” last month when employees downed tools, claiming the facility was in a dilapidated state.
The MEC spent nearly four hours in a grilling internal meeting with the executive members of Nehawu and Denosa trade unions, before formally addressing the employees in the hospital hall.
“Officials from the head office, Nomalanga Makwedini and Mthandeki Xamlashe, should make proposals on how the handling of these matters will be approached. I will be surprised if they do not recommend a forensic investigation about these allegations. I will institute it from my office. Nehawu should hand over documents which contain any form of evidence linked to any allegations.”
Gomba urged the unions not to allow the management to hold meetings where resolutions were taken without the involvement of employees.
“Nehawu, Denosa and PSA, you must force us health officials to take care of our wor- kers and manage well.
“It is painful for staff to be on probation. I have never heard of a four-year probation. According to the labour law, no employee should be temporary for more than six months.”
Tshaka had recom- mended 13 more em- ployees for the hospital, which had been approved and would be advertised soon.