Heads will roll, EC health MEC warns

Lynn Williams

EASTERN Cape Health MEC Sicelo Gqobana has warned health workers in Nelson Mandela Bay facilities that heads would roll if they were found to be incompetent.

Gqobana paid surprise visits to several Bay clinics last week.

“Die poppe gaan dans [all hell will break loose]. When I get back to Bhisho … die poppe sal dans. There is going to be some accountability,” Gqobana warned hundreds of nurses and other officials during a meeting at the Pieter Rademeyer Hall in Algoa Park on Friday.

He had convened the meeting to address workers’ concerns following the recent takeover of the Bay’s clinics by the provincial Health Department.

Gqobana noticed that the Walmer clinic was understaffed and instructed his officials to address the situation immediately.

“While there, I noticed that they were not wearing uniform. When I questioned them, they said their union told them not to because they do not receive a uniform allowance.

“Have you ever seen a policeman or a correctional services officer not wear uniform, except for special branches? What would happen if you [nurses] took your child to an institution for help and the nurses did not wear a uniform or they ignored your child the way you are ignoring others’ children?”

In reaction to reports that frustrated patients were turned away when clinics could not dispense medicine, Gqobana said further investigation revealed that medicines were in fact available.

“We are the laughing stock. People are going to be held accountable for their actions and their inactions,” he said.

Gqobana further lashed out at unions which had shown up at the meeting “uninvited” and said if they wanted to go to court as they had threatened, they were welcome to do so.

Health Department human resources officials assured workers that salaries would be paid on time. They would still receive their medical aid, danger allowance, housing, vehicle and other benefits.

The details of more than 400 staff members had already been captured on the province’s system, they said.

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