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'Go-slow by NW health workers causing medicine shortages at hospitals'

Staff have been on the go-slow for a few months now, citing the lack of bonus payments and corruption allegations in the department.

Operations at the North West medical stores have come to a standstill as workers demand better pay and the suspension of HoD Thabo Lekalakala. Picture: Masechaba Sefularo/EWN.

JOHANNESBURG - The North West portfolio committee on health says the provincial department needs to urgently convince staff to restore services at medical depots.

The department has told the committee that a go-slow by workers supported by the National Health Education and Allied Workers is slowly causing a medicine shortage at hospitals.

Staff have been on the go-slow for a few months now, citing the lack of bonus payments and corruption allegations in the department.

Acting health HOD Vuyo Mbulawa is blaming staff at government medical depots for the dwindling medical stock at hospitals, warning they’ll soon have to turn patients away.

But the committee’s Somadoda Sambatha says the department must consider the context of the go-slow.

“How on earth would you want workers to keep quiet when someone says on the SABC that ‘I paid money, R30 million'. And this person says on the SABC ‘I suspect it was a Gupta company.’ How on earth do you want workers to keep quiet in that instance?”

Sambatha says the department must agree on a compromise that will see the return of working staff at depots.

Unions representing workers have, however, alleged that the department has been negotiating in bad faith.

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