The Eastern Cape government has strongly condemned a song by protesting health workers aimed at Health Minister Zweli Mkhize, which apparently carried a “tribalistic and derogatory message”, reports News24.
Angry community health workers in the Eastern Cape picketed outside Livingstone Hospital where Mkhize was delivering a talk. The strike by workers demanding permanent employment, entered its second week yesterday. Most of the workers are affiliated to the National Education Health and Allied Workers Union (Nehawu).
According to the Herald, protesting community health workers sang “uyinkwenkwe uMkhize makoluswe”, which translates to “Mkhize is an uncircumcised boy, he must be circumcised”.
Eastern Cape government spokesperson Mvusiwekhaya Sicwetsha said: “The Eastern Cape provincial government condemns the reprehensible acts of tribalism exhibited by a group of health workers who sang derogatory songs and hurled insults meant to demean our Health Minister, Dr Zweli Mkhize, in Port Elizabeth today.”
“This act of tribalism, hurling of insults at and disrespecting Dr Mkhize or any other person has no place in our society. There is no person, including the workers, who has a right to insult another person. The conduct of this group of workers is silly, unwarranted, reprehensible and has no place in our society. There is no justification for this bigotry. We call on this group of workers to stop this behaviour and to apologise to Dr Mkhize,” said Sicwetsha.
Nehawu Eastern Cape provincial secretary Mickey Jaceni said: “I cannot answer for something I didn’t witness myself. Look, there are many songs that we sing. We even sing regularly about (former head of health) Dr Mbengashe. We never isolate anyone. But what I can say is that we are striking for our community health workers to be absorbed as permanent staff. It doesn’t sound like this song is related to what we are fighting for. I cannot answer for it.”