03 June 2020


Following our picket outside the Far East Rand Hospital (FERH) today was the latest escalation in a series of growing tensions between health care workers across the hospital. The National Union of Public Service and Allied Workers (NUPSAW) was advocating that the hospital be closed with immediate effect for deep cleaning, provide improved COVID-19 protections in terms of appropriate personal protective equipment and more transparency regarding positive cases at the hospital to workers.


Among 6 positive COVID-19 cases at the Far East Rand Hospital (FERH), it still has not given the pressing demand from hospital management to recognise and realise the serious gaps in its measures to protect the workforce and community. We are left in a situation where workers feel forced to go to work, even if they may not be feeling well. We demand the hospital to treat the health facility similar to Zwide Clinic in Port Elizabeth which had to shut after a nurse dies and 11 staff test positive.


The hospital management continued to be unreasonable by assigning his puppet the warrant officer Mabule Public Order Police (POP) to protect him and dismiss NUPSAW leadership outside the hospital while the facility is at a surge of infection to Health Care Workers and those surrounding communities.


NUPSAW condemns the behaviour of this officer for shielding the CEO who is turning the hospital into a slaughterhouse by contravening the health and safety regulations. His responses imply an unconcerned and stubborn leadership over its decision to continually ignore the Department’s Covid-19 Standard Operating Plan (SOP), including lack of proper fumigation and testing of workers which entirely possesses an even higher risk to the hospital and community around.


Our health care workers at FERH continue demanding for the required personal protective equipment (PPE) during COVID-19, for more enhanced screening, and temperature testing. However, health care workers are not being prioritised for this screening or testing. It is ridiculous to require these dedicated professionals to do their jobs the way they have been, without proper protections, and also be expected to be the driving force behind the COVID-19 recovery.


NUPSAW demands:

  • To be furnished with evidence of the fumigation they claiming to have done in preparation to curb the spread of the virus in the hospital
  • Daily testing of all workers
  • All health care workers, who were tested be provided with appropriate reports of their results.
  • All close contact to the positive workers be allowed to self-quarantine along with their families.
  • Temporary closure of the entire hospital until proper fumigation has been done to the entire hospital.


NUPSAW proceeds to demand the Department of Health including the Department of Employment and Labour to intercede with an urgent request to shut Far East Rand Hospital immediately. Department of Health must ensure all health care workers are protected and supported to the extent that is needed. South Africa cannot have a crisis where some are more privileged than others. No health care workers should be left behind to die if there is no health and safety protocols placed.


Failure to intervene or to furnish with the required documents, NUPSAW will be mobilising on all activists to give their support for workers at Far East Rand Hospital (FERH) in Springs, where their safety and health rights are under attack by their employer. Another option will be considering legal options against the Department and the CEO at his personal capacity for gross negligence and attempted murder.


For more information:

Kagiso Makoe

NUPSAW Media Office

083 712 1614


Solly Malema

NUPSAW National Organiser

082 323 2958


Austin Mofyoa

NUPSAW Organiser

071 508 8461