Cyril Ramaphosa. Picture: SIMPHIWE NKWALI
Cyril Ramaphosa. Picture: SIMPHIWE NKWALI

Hospital workers union Hospersa has called on President Cyril Ramaphosa to step into the political crisis in the North West‚ which has crippled healthcare.

"We have reached a point whereby the President needs to prioritise the crisis at the North West province‚" said Hospersa spokesperson Kevin Halama.

"Patient care is being compromised on a daily basis and the situation has become very desperate for the many communities that depend on public healthcare services. We fear that the recent announcement on the premier’s nonresignation will spark further unrest and plunge the department of health to new lows."

The military is currently deployed in the province to assist with the running of health facilities.

North West premier Supra Mahumapelo had indicated on Tuesday that he would resign after weeks of violent protests over his rule. But a day later, Mahumapelo backtracked‚ citing a decision by the ANC provincial executive committee.

Mahumapelo is reportedly on indefinite leave and has appointed finance MEC Wendy Nelson to stand in for him.

Hospersa said the consequences could be disastrous. It said at least six clinics around Mahikeng were closed‚ causing a backlog at the Mahikeng Provincial Hospital. In Klerksdorp‚ all clinics have been closed since Monday‚ along with the Ventersdorp emergency medical services (EMS).

Hospersa said its members had also reported being assaulted and intimidated when they went to work at the affected facilities.

"We are shocked by the recent turn of events involving the premier and fear that service delivery will continue to deteriorate‚" Halama said.

"The situation in the North West department of health has become very desperate for many patients that depend on public healthcare. The recent protests and the labour unrest have all but shut down service delivery."