It is still unclear exactly why members of the Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF) have been protesting at the Gauteng health department’s district office for the past three weeks.
Last week, EFF members went to the Tshwane district office where they allegedly forced 200 staffers out of their offices. When the protesters arrived at the office at the beginning of this month, they allegedly demanded jobs.
They have since allegedly refused to leave, with some members believed to be camping there. Democratic Alliance Gauteng shadow health MEC Jack Bloom said his party was alarmed that EFF members had blockaded the office and forced 200 staff members, mostly human resources and field staff, out of their offices.
“The Tshwane district office services 77 clinics and their work has been severely disrupted,” said Bloom.
“Newly hired clinic workers will likely not get paid this month if the human resources unit cannot get access to the offices.”
Bloom said the trouble had started three weeks ago when about 40 EFF members arrived in the lobby of the Fedsure Building in Pretoria and allegedly harassed staff. Bloom said he was concerned after hearing the members had gained access to two floors of the building, where confidential files were being stored.
“This appalling behaviour by the EFF is unacceptable,” he said. “It is cruel to make false promises about jobs to supporters and patients in Tshwane clinics suffer because they disrupt the district office.”
Bloom added the department could not be forced to provide jobs to members of any political party.
“Whatever jobs there are should be advertised and people appointed on merit,” he said. “They are demanding jobs. I don’t know on what basis. It’s completely unacceptable.”
The police had not been effective in removing the protesters, who refused to leave.
“It’s shocking. We live in a lawless society and police stand by and watch,” he said.
Gauteng health head of communication Motalatale Modiba said the department was working on getting a court interdict to evict the protesters from the building.
“The department had several engagements with the protesters leadership but, unfortunately, we could not find each other on this matter,” he said.
Modiba said the matter had been reported to the police and in spite of several visits to the building, they had not been successful in removing the protesters.
The EFF has not responded to attempts to obtain comment about the alleged protest for employment.