Memorial service held in city for fallen front-line health workers
THE NORTHERN Cape branch of the National Education, Health and Allied Workers Union (Nehawu) has announced that it is ready for Thursday’s national day of action.
A memorial service for fallen front-line workers in the Northern Cape Department of Health was hosted by Nehawu at the Robert Mangaliso Sobukwe Hospital in Kimberley on Tuesday as part of the build-up to Thursday’s strike.
There are eight health sector workers, seven staff nurses and one groundsman in the Northern Cape who have died due to Covid-19.
The memorial day to honour front-line workers was observed across the country on Tuesday from 12 midday until 2pm.
Nehawu said the memorial service was aimed at highlighting the selfless work and the sacrifice made by all employees in the health care sector who have died due to Covid-19.
The provincial secretary of Nehawu, Stefaan Cornelius, said a collective decision was taken at a national level that members should pay homage to employees in the health sector who have died during the pandemic.
“We need to honour and appreciate the work as well as the selfless sacrifice which was made by the fallen employees in the health sector. There is not much recognition given by the government for those heroes who have sacrificed their own lives to protect the health of others. There are many families who have been robbed of their loved ones who were merely doing their job with dedication,” said Cornelius.
“We have been asking for compliance with protocols and the protection of all workers, especially those in the front line. We need to honour those individuals who have laid down their lives and give them the required recognition as a union. We will continue to call for the safety of all workers,” he added.
Cornelius stated that the provincial branch of the union was ready for Thursday’s national strike.
“The premier, Dr Zamani Saul, has already confirmed that he will be available to receive the memorandum on the day of the strike. In the meantime, we will continue to hold lunch-hour pickets across the Province.
“On Wednesday, we will have motorcades, including one in Kimberley, where we will drive to the Office of the Premier to hand over the memorandum.”
He added that it was all systems go, although approval for the strike had not yet been received from some local municipalities.
Cornelius commended the support received from the provincial Department of Health as well as other unions and Cosatu.
The MEC for Health, Lebogang Lekwene, meanwhile commended the union for paying homage to the fallen health workers.
“We commend Nehawu for sparing a moment to honour those employees in the sector who have succumbed due to Covid-19. It is heartbreaking to indicate that we have also lost employees due to this pandemic. We have to take a moment to remember those who have left us. Those employees were patriotic and died while conducting their duties during a difficult period. As government, we will in future give them the proper recognition they deserve,” said Lekwene.