South Africa: 'We Are Dying' - Nehawu Gears to Strike As Frontline Workers Battle Covid-19

(file photo)

The country's largest union, Nehawu, is threatening to strike as healthcare workers continue to face inadequate supplies of protective gear and public service employees demand their salary increase for 2020. Nurses union Denosa, meanwhile, held a prayer session as its members continue to succumb to Covid-19.

The National Education, Health and Allied Workers' Union (Nehawu) believes the government's response to Covid-19 is putting frontline workers at risk and it's prepared to go on strike to protect its members, even if it disrupts treatment at healthcare facilities.

"We are dying now. We are burying our members," said Nehawu General Secretary Zola Saphetha in a media briefing in Johannesburg on Thursday.

"It is up to us whether we must watch workers die, members dying, or we must do something at least to protect them. Our action must be understood as an instrument and as a campaign to protect frontline workers from dying."

According to Health Minister Zweli Mkhize, as of 4 August 2020, 240 healthcare workers had died due to Covid-19 and 27,360 had been confirmed to have contracted the virus. Nurses made up the majority of cases, accounting for 52%.

In July, Nehawu leaders visited healthcare facilities across the country and...

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