The Big Battle: Protests of Health Workers in South Africa


The health workers in any nation are very important. They are the most vital because without them many people will lose their lives when they fall sick. The government in any nation should prioritize doctors, nurses, and other health workers and ensure they are safe. During this pandemic, it is the health workers that are in between life and death. If authorities do not take care of them, then the world may plunge into a disastrous situation.

Health workers and Covid-19

The government ought to fulfill its promises to them since they are the frontline in this pandemic. However, we see some countries in Africa that do not fulfill all the needs of the health workers. They are protesting for the provision of protective gear so they may continue combating the virus in a safe environment.

The worst part is that these health workers are suffering because of some greedy organizations that involve fraud. For example, there is an ongoing investigation in Kenya concerning an organization called KEMSA. It took part in the embezzlement of COVID-19 funds meant to provide the health workers with PPE. The doctors condemned the act and went on strike.

Recently, a similar case happened in South Africa, the country that has the most cases in the continent.

South Africa is among the countries that have many cases of coronavirus in the globe. It has over 600,000 cases of the virus and over 13,000 fatalities.

Health Workers Demonstrations

The workers connected to NEHAWU demonstrated outside the NHLS H.Q. they hindered the entrance to the building.

NEHAWU stands for National Education, Health and Allied Workers Union. It is a trade union in SA. It has over 230000 members. It is the biggest public-sector union in South Africa. The union plans for State Education, Health, and Welfare personnel. The NEHAWU is a partner with the Congress of South African Trade Union and Public Services International. It is a partner with the Trade Union International of Public and Allied Employees.

National Health Laboratory Services is a South African public organization. The NHLS came to exist in 2001. Its creation came through combining the South African Institute for Medical Research, and the National Centre for Occupational Health. The organization is the analytical pathology service for the public segment in the country. 

The National Health Department Report

The National Health Department reports that over 200 health workers lost their lives due to coronavirus. About 204 worked in the public segment and over 26,000 have infections.

Juda is the NEHAWU Branch Secretary. Mpathi says:

“We are in a war with the employer. And the war has got a tendency of having fatalities. And it’s unfortunate that when those fatalities are happening, it is our people who are victims.”

What does the Health Minister Say?

Zwelini Mkhize says:

“I have recently had serious engagements with several trade unions. I have said if there is any health worker that raises matters of safety, the unions must take it seriously. We have adopted the slogan: NO PPE, NO WORK.”



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