JOHANNESBURG, June 1 (Xinhua) -- The South African Medical Association (SAMA) on Friday strongly condemned the violent protests by medical staff on Thursday at Charlotte Maxeke Hospital in Johannesburg.
The medical staff on Thursday prevented patients from getting their medication and doctors from carrying out operations at the hospital. They also poured rubbish on the floors and threatened patients and some left without treatment.
"Hospitals should be places of safety, havens for the ill. Whatever the reasons, there can never be any justification of violence, especially when it impacts the safety and proper treatment of patients. The destruction of property is also beyond comprehension as this will take money and time to repair, which again places patient treatment and safety in jeopardy. This cannot be the new normal in our country," said Mzukisi Grootboom, chairperson of SAMA.
The protestors were demanding their outstanding bonuses. SAMA said they understand the protestors have genuine concern and encouraged them to solve it through negotiations and dialogue.
Grootboom said the medical staff should not compromise the healthcare of the vulnerable. They also called on the department of health to resolve the matter speedily and amicably.
Health Minister Aaron Motsoaledi visited the hospital on Thursday night. He said the hospital was scheduled to do 50 operations but only managed to do 19. Motsoaledi called the violent protestors hooligans. On Friday normalcy had returned to the medical center.