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Mkhize promises immediate intervention to quell threats of healthworkers’ strike

Health Minister Zweli Mkhize has responded to Nehawu's plans to withdraw its labour from all sectors by September, during the projected peak of the pandemic.

FILE: Health Minister Dr Zweli Mkhize during a walkabout at the Dora Ngiza Hospital in Port Elizabeth on 23 July 2020. Picture: @DrZweliMkhize/Twitter

JOHANNESBURG – Health Minister Zweli Mkhize has responded to the National Education, Health and Allied Workers’ Union (Nehawu) threats to stage protests over non-compliance of COVID-19 safety regulations, saying that he would “immediately intervene" at ill-equipped facilities.

The public sector union has outlined its plans to withdraw its labour from all sectors by September, during the projected peak of the pandemic.

It said that it had visited several health facilities and had found employees being forced to work despite having contracted COVID-19.

Nehawu also claimed that many health facilities did not have personal protective equipment.

The union’s Gauteng secretary, Tshepo Mokheranyane, said that they've demanded that health workers receive better treatment by ensuring risk assessments are done to control the infection rate in hospitals and clinics.

Nehawu said that some employers refused to believe health workers when they said that they had been exposed to a colleague who contracted the virus.

Mokheranyane said they had welcomed Health Minister Mkhize's response to their demands, but he said that actions spoke louder than words.

“We are going to hear what they say, work with them – for as long as they meet our demands. If they don’t meet our demands, our national programme of action will unfold.”

He said if government is not going to help health workers protect themselves during this pandemic, they will use their collective might to get results.

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