nehawu80The Citizen reports that the National Education, Health and Allied Workers’ Union (Nehawu) called for an immediate investigation after fire ravaged through the Charlotte Maxeke Academic Hospital dispensary section, including a PPE storeroom, on Friday.

General secretary Zola Saphetha said: “This was a setback considering that workers were in dire need of Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) and other medical supplies. As we head towards the third wave of Covid-19 infections, hospitals must be fully stocked with PPE so to avoid the mass infections of frontline workers as it happened during the first wave.” Saphetha added that the hospital’s safety measures were being questioned by the union: “The fact that the fire raged on for many hours proved that occupational safety measures are not adequately adhered to at the hospital. Investigations must reveal if the hospital had a functional fire sprinkler system and other measures to deal with such an ordeal.” The general secretary said the union would monitor the situation closely. “Nehawu will continue to sharply raise the issue of health and safety of its members and workers in all workplaces. The fire at Charlotte Maxeke Academic Hospital comes two months after another store room of the Carletonville Hospital where medical equipment worth R23 Million went up in flames,” Saphetha pointed out. Jack Bloom of the Democratic Alliance (DA) said the fire at Charlotte Maxeke dealt a huge blow to health services in Gauteng and resuming certain services would take longer than expected. Bloom added he was concerned that large parts of the hospital were possibly not structurally sound after the fire and would not be safe for patients.

Get other news reports at the SA Labour News home page