Gauteng MEC for Social Development Nandi Mayathula-Khoza raised concerns regarding the well-being of the department’s beneficiary institutions that look after the elderly, frail, women and children.
This comes after National Education, Health and Allied Workers’ Union (NEHAWU) nation-wide strike involving social workers that left an unfavourable effect on service delivery in allied institutions across Gauteng.
MEC Mayathula-Khoza visited Ga-Rankuwa and Soshanguve, in the Tshwane region in a bid to assess issues in those particular areas on Friday.
She encouraged community members with social work skills to assist neighbouring social development institutions and centres as it will ensure the well-being of beneficiaries whose lives were compromised as a result of the strike.
Mayathula-Khoza said she was confronted by scenes of frightened, hungry and troubled children who are as young as five years, many of whom suffer from chronic illnesses such as HIV/AIDS.
“These children’s lives have been placed in danger as they cannot access medication and even food. This cannot go on a minute longer” said MEC Mayathula-Khoza.
A court order was issued on Thursday to restrain the angry protestors from acts of violence including intimidation of employees or the public who want to report for duty at any departmental office.
The Department of Social Development acknowledges the worker’s right to protest as it is stated in the Constitution. However it prohibits acts of violence and intimidation.
“As government we appeal to our workers to exercise their right to strike, but there must do so peacefully and be mindful of communities and beneficiaries that we serve,” Mayathula-Khoza added.
She emphasized the department’s recognition of labour issues but pleads with workers to keep the interests of innocent beneficiaries in mind.
She also called for non-violent demonstrations that will not risk the safety of those beneficiaries who are in the care of government institutions.
“The department is putting efforts in ensuring that beneficiaries access all necessary services today,” MEC Mayathula-Khoza concluded