The South African National Civic Organisation (Sanco) and community members as well as the ANC joined a protest by hospital staff at the Chris Hani Baragwanath Hospital, demanding that Gauteng Finance MEC Barbara Creecy allocate a bigger chunk of the provincial budget to health. Such a move would “save the public hospitals” and lessen the burden on staff, The Citizen reports the protesters said.
“It is important for us as the ANC to reflect on these issues that are affecting the workers, particularly the health workers at Bara. This hospital serves a large community, in fact Bara is the pulse of the health system in the country,” said Bandile Masuku, Gauteng ANC’s convener of the health and education sub-committee. “If Bara’s issues are not addressed, the whole system will have a problem. We are here to support the (Gauteng Health) MEC, the professors here and the heads of department at Bara. We are here to support Sanco, a civil society movement. We are also here to make sure that next week when the finance MEC delivers the budget, she must make sure that she gives us a bigger share in health. We cannot talk about economic growth when people are not well.”
Masuku is quoted in the report as saying it was incomprehensible how public heath facilities were understaffed when there are health professionals seeking jobs in Gauteng.
Sanco Gauteng chair Chris Malematja said the community organisations could no longer wait from the side-lines when the vast hospital is crumbling. “Our people are dying daily, here. We cannot come here, only to sit and talk politics. Our people are supposed to come here and be treated. It cannot be correct that you get admitted at this hospital, and you will come out dead,” the report quotes Malematja as saying.
“People are dying here because you don’t have enough staff. These issues are being buried. We need a bigger budget for health, and we need it now. We want to see doctors being hired in high numbers. We want nurses to be hired in high numbers. We want enough security. This privatisation of security services must come to an end. We want the people of Soweto to work here as security [guards]. We want our people to be cleaners here.”
According to the report, Malematja said the hospital staff had been intimidated from airing their grievances.The Citizen report