File picture: Pexels

Port Elizabeth - A “laissez-faire” attitude of inept officials is the reason for a strike in the health department, MPL and IFP KZN provincial spokesperson Ncamisile Nkwanyana said in a statement on Wednesday.

The IFP has challenged the Health Department to sort out its shortcomings and challenges to address the department's "dismal failure", instead of threatening mortuary workers who are on strike. 

"Workers have been issued with an ultimatum that if they fail to return to work, they could face 30 days in jail for being in contempt of court," Nkwanyana said.

Despite being routinely flagged, these shortcomings are seldom corrected. "Learning from failure is rare and course correction after mistakes is rarer. To prevent further strikes, we want to advise the department of health to address the challenges before resorting to seek court interdicts," Nkwanyana said.

The spokesperson said that a number of crucial steps need to be taken to prevent workers from going on strike in the future.

She said that the government must acknowledge its mutual interests with employees and that working on developing trust, as well as sound industrial relations. would reduce conflict and promote productivity. 

She added that trade unions should have a decision-making role in major policy decisions that affect the health sector. 

"Health workers need to be more vocal and proactive against flaws in the way health care is run and to correct the current state of things. And finally, the public needs to agitate for improved health care services by calling on governors and other leaders to account for poor services.

"South Africans are guaranteed quality health service by the country’s constitution. They shouldn’t settle for anything less," Nkwanyana said.

African News Agency (ANA)