The South African Medical Association, SAMA, today blamed the public sector strike on the “government’s failure to take workers’ demands seriously”.
The medical body supported employee demands for adequate pay as well as their right to take industrial action.
“Government has, for years, refused to negotiate and conclude a Minimum Service Level Agreement, which would have gone a long way to preventing the current chaos prevailing in our public hospitals,” the chairman Dr Norman Mabasa, said in a statement.
“It is clear that the Department of Health has no contingency plan to deal with the strike … using the military is completely inadequate”.
Doctors are picking up the pieces and this is an “unacceptable abuse of our members”, the medical body stated. But SAMA called on members to deliver appropriate care to patients.
The association also condemned “all acts of violence and intimidation from both the State and striking workers”, while urging its members to join peaceful picketing, marches and public demonstrations.
“SAMA calls on Government to concede to the reasonable demands of public sector workers and immediately sign a Minimum Service Level Agreement,” Mabasa stated.
As reported on this blog yesterday, patients experiencing problems accessing chronic medicines during the strike can contact the SA National AIDS Council Nerve Centre for assistance at (012) 395 9078/9, (012) 395 9081/7/8/9 or (012) 395 9090 or e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org.