South Africa: Health workers protest against their working conditions amidst pandemic

About a hundred health workers gathered Thursday in front of the presidential buildings in Pretoria to demand better working conditions and a pay increase. They regret that the government is not paying more attention to their demands, despite the fact that they have been at the forefront of the coronavirus epidemic in a country that has been heavily affected.

The demonstration was staged at the call of one of the main unions of the public health sector, the Nehawu.

More than 27,000 South African health workers were infected with the coronavirus, and 240 died.
As for those who continue to work, like Irene Mothibe, they are often confronted with a lack of personnel. “Nurses who contract the virus have to isolate themselves at home, so we are understaffed and are expected to work normally. We are “essential workers” only on paper, in reality, when it comes to paying nurses, it’s something else┬╗.

But what exasperates the protesters most are the revelations of numerous corruption scandals related to the provision of protective equipment. “It makes us very angry, because many institutions are now lacking equipment. All these people who are involved in stealing money for equipment must be arrested as soon as possible,┬╗ a nurse claims.

If its demands are not met by next Thursday, the union is threatening a general strike in the sector.