Media statement: KZN Department of Health calls for restraint in the wake of disruptions to healthcare service delivery

07 March 2023

The KwaZulu-Natal Department of Health is regrettably experiencing ongoing disruptions to normal operations at some of its health facilities, mainly at EThekwini, uThukela and UMgungundlovu districts, as a result of this strike, reportedly by members of the National Health and Allied Workers Union (NEHAWU).

This industrial action, which began yesterday 06 March 2023, has resulted in the blockage of access to various hospitals by certain individuals, which has hindered access to several facilities; as well as work stoppages, following the intimidation and removal of staff from their posts, as well as the burning of tyres.

Emergency Medical Services in and around eThekwini, and at King Cetshwayo, have reported serious challenges with moving around and transporting patients to and from healthcare facilities.

Yesterday 06 March 2023, at uThukela District, Emmaus Hospital recorded challenges regarding food and laundry services, after workers were forced to leave their work stations. Both areas had to be manned by only a few staff members, but hospital management devised alternative means to ensure provision of lunch and dinner for patients.

The Department wishes to remind all of its employees that, as healthcare professionals, they are classified as essential services, which means they are legally prohibited from embarking on industrial action. Contravention of this law could have dire circumstances on all involved individuals.

Furthermore, those who took part in the illegal strike are reminded that the principle of "no work, no pay" will apply.


The Department wishes to caution all members of the public as well as leaders and members of organised labour against breaking the law, and the blocking of access routes and entrances to clinics and hospitals and all our institutions, as this could result in unnecessary and avoidable loss of lives and inconvenience to the different members of society.

The Department would like to thank the SAPS and all relevant stakeholders for all the assistance that they rendered during the strike action. We will continue to closely monitor the situation on the ground, and implement our contingency plan where necessary.

Issued on behalf of the administrative head of the KZN Department of Health

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This page last edited on 11 July, 2023

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