Charlotte Maxeke workers protest for performance bonuses

General workers at Charlotte Maxeke hospital in Johannesburg demonstrated for higher wages and performance bonuses on Thursday.

Earlier in the day, protesters blocked vehicle entrances to hospitals with burning debris, large stones and empty hospital beds. By the early afternoon, protesters had gathered on the fifth floor of the hospital to sing and chant for performance bonus wages from the government.

Protesters — including hospital cleaners, staff nurses and administration workers — marched through hallways, scattering rubbish and singing. An administration worker who gave his name as Sipho Mqungebe, hopes the protest will spark government action.

“We’ve been fighting for this money for too long. We are desperate. We want the government to pay us,” he said.

Many hospital workers who participated in the protest say they do not earn a liveable wage. Nomalizo, a staff nurse at the hospital, says her R10 000 monthly salary is inexplicably low for the work she does.

“We are working weekends, we are working Sunday, we are working public holidays, but nobody appreciates what we are doing,” she says, “If we are earning more money we can take our kids to school and we can buy houses.”

National Health Education and Allied Workers Union (Nehawu) provincial general secretary Gracia Rikhotso hopes there will be a multilateral agreement between workers and the government on Friday. Rikhotso explained that protests will end after an agreement is met.

As the protesters continued to march, others continued about their business. Johann Brits, a 61-year-old patient who is staying at the hospital, left his ward to investigate after hearing about the protests. He was shocked to see the amounts of litter in the hospital. “I was curious to know what was going on. It’s terrible. It looks terrible. You can’t believe it in a hospital that it looks like this so we’ll see what’s going to happen.”

Staff members who are not participating in the protests are concerned about the unsanitary conditions that were left by the protesters.

“If people want to fight for their rights or money they must make a peaceful protest rather than littering the hospital because it’s really not good for infection control,” said Sibusiso Mkhize, a radiographer there.

“People are going to be very sick from this. People who even come with a minor wound can get sepsis from this kind of thing.”

By about 3.30pm, protesters had left the hospital, shouting they would return on Friday.

Subscribe to the M&G

These are unprecedented times, and the role of media to tell and record the story of South Africa as it develops is more important than ever.

The Mail & Guardian is a proud news publisher with roots stretching back 35 years, and we’ve survived right from day one thanks to the support of readers who value fiercely independent journalism that is beholden to no-one. To help us continue for another 35 future years with the same proud values, please consider taking out a subscription.

Related stories

Pharmacists, denied frontline status, get PPE late

Pharmacists at one of the major public hospitals in Gauteng say they only received sufficient protective gear after several of their colleagues contracted Covid-19.

Agriculture department denies Dlamini poison claims

Deputy Agriculture Minister Sdumo Dlamini was admitted to hospital with a severe headache, says the ministry

Mapaila must prove his claims against protector or face the law

The South African Communist Party’s deputy secretary general has a history of attacking the office of the public protector

Nationalisation of the Reserve Bank cannot be reckless — Mantashe

The ANC’s national chairperson says there are people 'waiting in the wings' to 'cash out for maximum benefit'

Public Protector is being used by a ‘rogue intelligence unit’, says the SACP

Public Protector Busisiwe Mkhwebane must face an inquiry over her fitness to hold office, SACP second deputy general secretary Solly Mapaila says

Corruption plagues land reform

Hazel Friedman digs into a SIU probe into 148 land reform projects, which found that a quarter were corrupt and millions of rands have disappeared

Sekhukhune’s five-year battle for water back in court

The residents of five villages are calling for the district municipal manager to be arrested

Fees free fall, independent schools close

Parents have lost their jobs or had salaries cut; without state help the schools just can’t survive

Vaccine trial results due in December

If successful, it will then have to be manufactured and distributed

White men still rule and earn more

Women and black people occupy only a few seats at the JSE table, the latest PwC report has found

press releases

Loading latest Press Releases…

The best local and international journalism

handpicked and in your inbox every weekday