Hundred plus military medics keep services going at strike-hit hospitals

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Over a hundred SA Military Health Service (SAMHS) personnel are still deployed at public hospitals in three provinces, notwithstanding the Nehawu (National Education, Health and Allied Workers’ Union) strike seemingly over.

Military medical personnel were moved into place last Wednesday (8 March) at 10 hospitals and will remain deployed until 30 March according to the Directorate Corporate Communication (DCC) of the SA National Defence Force (SANDF).

One hundred and two military medical personnel, in disciplines ranging from medical doctors through to professional nurses, enrolled nurses as well as emergency medical military care and support personnel were activated in response to a call from the National Department of Health (NDoH).

DCC said the deployment of national defence force medical personnel was to “render support to non-striking workers at Tshepong, Sebokeng and Thelle Mogoerane hospitals in Gauteng and North West”.

Tshepong is in North West’s Klerksdorp while Sebokeng is 20km from Vereeniging and Thelle Mogoerane is on Gauteng’s East Rand in Vosloorus.

The NDoH appeal for assistance saw SAMHS personnel activated and positioned at seven hospitals in KwaZulu-Natal. DCC names two – Kwa-Mashu, also known as Dr Pixley Ka Isaka Seme Memorial, and General Gizenga Justice Mpanza General Hospital in Stanger, north of Durban.

On Thursday the Labour Court ruled union members and employees in essential services are prohibited from striking. Nehawu suspended the public healthcare worker strike, saying an in-principle settlement was reached with government over salary increases for 2023/2024.