NEWS & ANALYSIS

Protesters must be charged with attempted murder - DA NCape

Party says NEHAWU protest is having devastating impact on health care services in the province

DA wants protestors charged with attempted murder 

13 October 2016

The DA condemns in the strongest possible terms the violent protest action by NEHAWU supporters that is having a devastating impact on health care services in the province and wants charges of attempted murder opened against the protestors who set the Kimberley Hospital theatre alight earlier today. 

A child was on the operating table when the theatre was set alight and another patient in the theatre next door was undergoing brain surgery when the violence erupted. The admin section, which is right next door to the operating theatres, was subsequently also evacuated. 

The actions of protestors have directly placed innocent lives at risk. The operating theatres were closed down for the remainder of the day, possibly placing even more lives at risk. 

The violent, selfless and thoughtless actions of the protestors involved in today’s attack on provincial health services is unacceptable and simply cannot be justified. These protestors claim to be fighting for the rights of individuals whose futures have been placed in jeopardy by the appointment of a new CFO and HOD to the department. But for once, the Health Department has actually been placed under the charge of a CFO and an HOD with a good track record in clean governance. This can be seen in the fact that these officials played an instrumental role in achieving the very first clean audit by a NC provincial government department, namely Social Development. 

One has to ask oneself why NEHAWU and the members whom it is protecting are so up in arms about the new departmental management? Are the new, more stringent and controlled procurement practices perhaps hampering the age-old practice of siphoning funds from this bankrupt and financially indebted department - one can only wonder? 

The DA is of the firm view that the protestors have this time gone too far. There are ways of driving issues that do not involve criminal activity. It is time that the unions and protestors, that are bringing health services to its knees, realise this.

The DA further welcomes the arrest of protestors who have caused physical harm to the scarce health resources in the province. We hope that the culprits, who are pushing their own personal agendas at the expense of the sickest and most vulnerable people of society, are firmly dealt with in a court of law.  

Issued by Isak Fritz, DA Northern Cape Spokesperson of Health, 13 October 2016