Protests Rage Outside Groote Schuur Hospital Over Contract Dispute
|EFF members meet with Groote Schuur Support Services about contract disputes (Photo via EFF Cape Metro/Twitter)|
Rubble burned outside Groote Schuur Hospital on Tuesday as protestors blocked the entrance. Hospital porters and EFF supporters pronounced their frustrations over the termination of nearly 100 contracts after the hospital signed a deal with a new portering company.
The new contract took effect at the beginning of the month. Hospital management entered negotiations with the previous portering company on Monday, however, little progress was made in those talks.
The hospital said protestors who function as support staff, were employed by a 3rd party service provider.
The contract with this service provider came to an end Monday, and a new company will now provide these services beginning 1 March.
According to the EFF’s Ntsikelelo Tyandela, some of the support staff have been working at the hospital between 6 and 18 years.
He said more than 100 workers will now no longer have jobs.
Protests on Tuesday saw roughly 100 porters and about 30 EFF members with signs chanting and attempting to block the entrance to the hospital. Rubbish bins and chairs were also burned during the demonstrations.
Police fired at least two rubber bullets and stun grenades in an attempt to halt protestors.
The Western Cape Department of Health said the protest was disruptive and condemned the actions of their former employees.
“A hospital is a place where vulnerable people go for medical services," said Health Department spokesperson Mark van de Heever in a statement Tuesday. "Such disruption not only impacts on the hospital’s capability to ensure uninterrupted service delivery but can also cause mental trauma.”
By Ben Rappaport