#Coronavirus: FS Health intervenes at Bongani following protests

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The Free State Department of Health says services at the Bongani Hospital in Welkom are expected to run smoothly today after the department managed to resolve concerns raised by nurses who embarked on a strike on Tuesday.

OFM News reports that services at the hospital came to a halt yesterday with employees protesting that they must be provided transportation to work. Departmental spokesperson, Mondli Mvambi, in an interview with OFM News’ Cathy Dlodlo, says the nurses were protesting transport costs, and what they deemed as unfair practices by taxi operators in the region who were demanding them to pay inflated amounts.

He says the nurses then resolved to express their frustration at the hospital for the department to intervene. Mvambi says although the strike was in contravention of the lockdown regulations and against President Cyril Ramaphosa’s rule of no more than 100 people gathering, they managed to engage the nurses, attend to their concerns and they will soon resume duties.

He highlighted that transport will be arranged for them.

The strike at the Bongani Hospital came amidst countrywide growing concerns over shortage of resources and lack of basic protective gear for medical personnel in their fight against the coronavirus.

The National Education, Health and Allied Workers’ Union (NEHAWU) has threatened to take a legal action over the lack of protective gear. The union said those at the forefront of the fight against the spread of Covid-19 are not being protected against the pandemic and are being forced to work without adequate resources.

The union has meanwhile given the department until end of business today to comply with the Occupational Health and Safety Act or risk being dragged to court.

OFM News/KATLEHO MORAPELA