The Democratic Alliance is alarmed by a voice clip circulating in the Eastern Cape which states that Emergency Medical Services in the province will down tools from tomorrow (Wednesday, 11 December 2019).
If the proposed strike of EMS personnel goes ahead, the Department will have blood on its hands as a result of its administrative failures and lack of concern for its own staff.
The DA understands that the proposed illegal strike is as a result of the failure of the Department of Health to settle long-outstanding overtime debt, which accumulated between 2003 and 2011.
Despite many interventions, including mediation and the recommendation of staggered payments, not one cent of the overtime owed to EMS personnel for this period has been paid out.
At a time of the year when the EMS service is most in demand, they have opted to down tools.
While the Democratic Alliance sympathises with workers who have clearly been financially mistreated over the years, we cannot condone an illegal EMS strike, which puts the lives of our people at risk, and which will undoubtedly result in tragedy.
We therefore call upon the MEC of Health, Sandiswa Gomba, to resolve this issue once and for all, as failure to pay emergency personnel for work done undermines their value and destroys their morale. This in turn impacts very negatively on the health and wellbeing of thousands of citizens who will require emergency services during the festive season.
Note to Editors: Please feel free to download sound clip in English from Jane Cowley, MPL, below.