In 2016, as the Life Esidimeni tragedy was unfolding in Gauteng, a crisis of a different sort was playing out in the corridors of Fort England, a psychiatric hospital in Makhanda in the Eastern Cape. There, the CEO’s attempts to establish order — reportedly clamping down on absenteeism, abuse of overtime and leave, and staff conducting private business from the premises — set unions on the warpath. But far from backing Roger Walsh — even after inquiries found his management style to be above board — the provincial health department simply transferred him to a new position to restore order at the hospital. In other words, Walsh was shifted out to placate unions that a judge last week said had acted with "brutal acts of thuggery" — with potentially deleterious effects for patients. While the action may have had the intended effect, it is deeply concerning that it was considered necessary. It gives impetus to a faction that believes itself beyond the bounds of the law, and sets a dange...

BL Premium

This article is reserved for our subscribers.

A subscription helps you enjoy the best of our business content every day along with benefits such as exclusive Financial Times articles, ProfileData financial data, and digital access to the Sunday Times and Times Select.

Already subscribed? Simply sign in below.



Questions or problems? Email helpdesk@businesslive.co.za or call 0860 52 52 00. Got a subscription voucher? Redeem it now