by IANS |
Johannesburg, March 9 (IANS) South Africa's Department of Health said that the ongoing violent and disruptive strike by public sector workers has impacted more than 40 healthcare facilities in the country.
"There are a number of major hospitals in six provinces that have been affected by this violent strike," Foster Mohale, the department's spokesperson, told Xinhua news agency on Wednesday.
The strike by the National Education, Health and Allied Workers' Union started on Monday as the workers demanded a 10-to-12-per cent salary increment, but the administration had only put forward an offer of less than 5 per cent.
Some striking employees were obstructing ambulances from bringing patients to hospitals, while some were locking the canteens where patients were served food, Mohale said.
"We are concerned about patients dying. Health workers should know that they are essential workers, and they should not be embarking on strikes," he said, adding that some hospitals were releasing patients because no one was available to care for them.
"Any form of violence and intimidation directed at health workers, patients, and infrastructure is condemned in the strongest terms," he said.