DA slams health department over strike

The DA has condemned the failure of the department of health to deal with an ongoing strike by state forensic pathology employees in the BCM area, saying it had led to dead bodies at accident scenes “left lying on the side of the road for hours”.

Strikers claim that they have not been paid overtime and standby allowances since April, despite repeated assurances from DoH head Dr Thobile Mbengashe. “The department has been forced to negotiate with private funeral parlours to collect the deceased from accident scenes while the strike continues, resulting in significant delays in retrieving corpses,” DA shadow MEC for health Jane Cowley said.

“In one incident, a person declared dead last Friday in a car accident was left on the scene until late on Saturday.”

However, Cowley said she understood the forensic pathology workers’ struggle and noted that the DoH was largely responsible for the current situation.

“Forensic pathology employees have had enough.

“Their drastic action is the result of months of waiting for monies owed to them by the department,” she said.

“The continued mismanagement of personnel and finances within the health department speaks volumes about the consequences of employing cadres who cannot do the work required to keep the department functioning,” she said.

Cowley said the DoH had lost sight of its core mandate of providing quality and easily accessible healthcare to the people of the Eastern Cape.

“I have written to the MEC for health, Sindiswa Gomba, to request that the matter of unpaid overtime be addressed as a matter of urgency so that forensic pathology services are restored before more of the taxpayers’ money is wasted,” she said.

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