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By Cheryl Kahla

Content Strategist


SA hospitals in crisis: Patients in jeopardy amid Nehawu strike

Hospitals across South Africa have been hit hard by the Nehawu strike action.


The National Education, Health and Allied Workers’ Union (Nehawu) strike is taking its toll on South African hospitals, especially at Leratong and Helen Joseph.

Protest action is causing significant disruptions to hospital operations, with medical personnel struggling to provide critical care to patients.

Nehawu Strike

The Nehawu strike is part of a broader national public service strike, with workers demanding a 10% salary increase.

Meanwhile, hospitals are experiencing staff shortages due to the strike, and are struggling to keep patients alive.

WATCH: Protest at Helen Joseph Hospital

The Citizen‘s Lunga Mzangwe is at the scene in Gauteng and confirmed Nehawu workers blockaded the entrance to the hospital with burning tyres.

He said they are demanding a 10% salary increment.


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Public service workers demand the filling of vacant posts to ease the workload on personnel.

RELATED: Nehawu strike: Patients at Helen Joseph Hospital told to go home

Leratong Hospital

According to a doctor who had just finished a double shift, medical personnel cannot attend to emergency cases at the hospital.

She said there was no one to clean the theaters and no porters available to assist with moving patients. The situation is dire, and some patients are in jeopardy due to the strike action.

Medical personnel, who were on duty prior to the protest, are doing their best to keep patients alive. However, the situation is becoming increasingly challenging as the strike action continues.

Middelburg Provincial

At the Middelburg Provincial Hospital in Mpumalanga, security guards downed tools and caused significant disruptions to operations at the facility.

Patients and doctors were prohibited from entering the premises by the guards, and nurses had to break a lock to enable patients to enter.

The protest was prompted by a string of complaints raised by the guards, the Middelburg Observer reports.

Health department responds

The Department of Health expressed concern over the violent and disruptive actions by Nehawu union members at hospitals across the country.

While the department respects workers’ right to strike, it shouldn’t affect patients’ access to healthcare or their right to life.

The department said it is working with authorities to monitor the situation, and warn South Africans that the following hospitals are affected by strike action:

  • Chris Hani Baragwanath Hospital (Gauteng)
  • Leratong Hospital (Gauteng)
  • Tembisa Hospital (Gauteng)
  • Pelonomi Hospital (Free State)
  • Manapo Hospital (Free State)
  • Khayelitsha Hospital (Western Cape)
  • Tshepong Hospital (North West)
  • Moses Kotane Hospital (North West)
  • Kimberly Hospital in the (Northern Cape)
  • Upington Hospital in the (Northern Cape)