Pelonomi employees vow to not return to work

───   OLEBOGENG MOTSE 08:15 Thu, 09 Dec 2021

Pelonomi employees vow to not return to work  | News Article

The staff of Pelonomi Tertiary Hospital in Bloemfontein who downed tools on Tuesday over unsafe working conditions and vacancies vow to continue to do so until the Free State Health Department attends to their concerns.

This as the department pleads with the disgruntled group to return to work as patients’ lives are at risk.

Among those taking part in the strike led by the National Education, Health and Allied Workers' Union (Nehawu) is nursing staff, cleaners, porters and security personnel.

The secretary of Nehawu’s Mangaung branch, Thabo Nkomo, told OFM News that they have been speaking out on the issue of health and safety for years.

A section of the maternity ward in the hospital has been under construction for a decade and Nkomo now warns that it is becoming increasingly dangerous for staff as criminals hide behind the debris and unfinished construction.

Nkomo mentions two incidents in which medical doctors were attacked on the hospital premises. In June 2019, a female doctor at Pelenomi Hospital in Bloemfontein bit off a man’s tongue as he attempted to rape her while she was sleeping in one of the overnight staff quarters. The man was later apprehended and declared a state patient by the courts. Almost a decade prior to that. A female doctor specialising in paediatrics was raped by a group of assailants. As stated by Nkomo, she was reportedly heading to the neo-natal unit, where construction partitions remain up to this day.

Provincial health department spokesperson, Mondli Mvambi, warns the strike is placing the lives of patients in danger. He stresses that Pelonomi Hospital management is trying to attend to staff’s grievances as a matter of urgency.

According to Mvambi the operation of Heidedal Poly Clinic inside the hospital was disrupted as the staff had to close due to intimidation by people who identified themselves as Nehawu members. Other parts of the hospital such as casualty/trauma areas of the main hospital as well as other clinical areas are negatively affected, including antenatal and postnatal areas.

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