The South African Military Heath Service (SAMHS) will move into the North West province to reinforce medical care at its provincial hospital following a strike by health sector workers.
In a statement issued on 20 April, Director Defence Corporate Communication, Brigadier General Mafi Mgobozi, said the South African Military Health Service (SAMHS) is currently mobilising to be in position at the North West Provincial Hospital earliest by tomorrow, in order to alleviate the plight of the affected citizens of the province.
“The health care practitioners from the South African National Defence Force (SANDF) will be moving into the province to ensure that affected citizens at the Provincial Hospital are provided with the critical health care service they need. This is done with the understanding that lives need to be preserved at all costs,” the SANDF said.
President Cyril Ramaphosa visited North West province on Friday to try to quell protests over poor local services that have turned violent, after cutting short a trip to the Commonwealth summit being held in London.
Unrest erupted on Wednesday in and around the city of Mahikeng in the province, located around 300 km (200 miles) west of South Africa’s commercial hub Johannesburg.
South African media reported that cars were set alight, shops looted and roads blockaded by protesters calling for North West Premier Supra Mahumapeloa, a member of the ANC, to quit.
Police fired rubber bullets to disperse the crowds and made more than 20 arrests. One man died in a car chase between police and protesters, the Times Live news website cited a local police spokeswoman as saying.