File photo: INLSA

Johannesburg - The South African National Defence Force (SANDF) has deployed its military health service to the North West Province to help alleviate the pressure of the labour strike affecting the province’s health department.

The SANDF said lives need to be saved at all costs.

The strike has been ongoing for over a month and affects the North West’s health department and social development department. It is being led by the National Education, Health and Allied Workers Union (Nehawu).

The military health service said in a statement on Friday that it is preparing to be in the province by Saturday.

The service said it wants to take pressure off the many citizens who have been affected by the labour strike.

North West residents have been complaining about the poor service at public hospitals, with some reporting that patients were being sent home sick due to the unavailability of staff. 

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The MEC for Health in the North West Dr Magome Maskie had said the department was being assisted by private hospitals in the area to perform C-sections.

“The health care practitioners from SANDF will be moving into the province to ensure that affected citizens at the provincial hospital are provided with the critical health care service they need,” said the SANDF.

The labour strike in the North West has been mentioned by striking residents in the area who have been calling for Premier Supra Mahumapelo to resign.

Nehawu has complained that it has written to Mahumapelo about its labour dispute, but he has ignored their messages.

Another issue for residents is the issue of the massive corruption in the province. 

Mahumapelo has been embroiled in numerous scandals over corrupt deals for months. 

The unhappiness with his leadership has reached a high that even some ANC members of the provincial legislature are rumoured to be willing to vote him out in a no confidence vote tabled by the EFF.

The EFF asked that no confidence vote, which was supposed to take place on Tuesday, to be postponed so that it could ask the courts to pressure the Speaker to allow for the vote to be held in secret.

The ANC’s top brass arrived in the North West on Friday afternoon to begin talks with unhappy caucus members. President Cyril Ramaphosa even cut short his London trip to attend to the issues in the province.

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