Two shot dead at Durban hospitals

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Anti-outsourcing demonstrations at Durban state hospitals turned violent when pickets and security guards. exchanged shots, leaving two dead.

Business Day reports that the fight against outsourcing gained traction at the end of last year as part of the #FeesMustFall campaign by university students. Since June hundreds of outsourced security guards, cleaners and kitchen staff have been staging pickets at several Durban hospitals, including King Edward, Inkosi Albert Luthuli, King Dinuzulu and Wentworth. Among their claims is that contractors receive up to R9,000 per individual worker from the government for their services but workers are only paid R2,000 per month. Their main demand is to be employed directly by the government. They accuse contractors of abuse and of not adhering to labour laws.

The report says the KwaZulu-Natal (KZN) Department of Health has responded by locking out these workers and urging them to speak to their employers. The department has also strengthened security at the affected hospitals.

Police said the recent shooting happened after a group of picketing workers shot and wounded a security guard who had been on patrol in the early hours of the morning. Police spokesperson, Major Thulani Zwane said the guard managed to return fire.

But Joe Sibiya, KZN secretary of the South African Liberated Public Sector Workers Union – which represents the picketing workers – said the attack took place without provocation. He said the union would intensify its industrial action against the department and extend it to other institutions until their demands are met.

According to the report, KZN MEC for Health Sibongiseni Dhlomo warned the striking workers that they would face the wrath of the law should they continue to disrupt the provision of health services.

Full Business Day report

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