Meanwhile Gauteng health MEC Qedani Mahlangu pleaded with striking workers to stop intimidating non-striking workers and blockading hospital entrances.
"While workers have a right to express their dissatisfaction, it is unacceptable that lives of desperate people are put at risk," Mahlangu said in a statement on Wednesday.
The entrance of the Natalspruit hospital, in Ekurhuleni, was blocked during a protest on Wednesday.
Mahlangu urged workers to allow ambulances, doctors, nurses and patients to enter hospitals.
He said many hospital and clinics in Gauteng operated normally on Wednesday morning, at the start of the national strike in the public sector, but that disruptions occurred in the afternoon as
employees joined protests.
"The union has promised a full-blown strike from tomorrow and the department has put in place contingency measures to mitigate against the strike," said Mahlangu.
These measures included the deployment of administrative staff from central and regional offices to assist the worst-affected
clinics and hospitals.
Volunteers would be mobilised and hospital managers and senior officials on training would be called back.
"All hospitals and clinics will remain open during the strike and the department will closely monitor the impact of the industrial action.
"All hospitals have established a strike committee, which will evaluate the situation regularly and call for assistance when necessary," Mahlangu said.
What the people are saying
Some comments from the papers
Anyone blocking access to hospitals should be arrested and charged with attempted murder. No exceptions. The alternative is to bring in the army and use deadly force to deal with these criminals.
We should be considering this strike as an opportunity to cut the unions down to size, as they are now totally out of hand. Instead of offering larger increases keep reducing it, going negative if necessary. Let these workers lose pay and ultimately have to return to work for a lower offer or if they push their luck earning less than they did before the strike started.
I no longer have any sympathy for these workers.
The statement "that we don't care how many die until the government pays what we want" is so callous. The Natalspruit carry-on is even worse. Are we employing health workers and teachers or merely hooligans? I suspect the latter. After the years of struggle and the new dispensation, you are so unable to serve the new democracy. Yes it is not working 100%, now let us all make sure it does - call on the electorate, on everyone, but do not make us less than you in the unions!
With a government that wastes so much money on its members (it is a syndicate not a government) then they have a credibility gap when they say they have no money. How much money could have been paid out to improve the salaries of nurses and teachers if the ANC fa cats didn't spend so much money on cars, court cases and plush hotels? Farcical being held hostage by the late Iron Age mentality of the ANC who lie and swindle and do tender deals all for their own benefit and nothing for the people. Employing consultants at R30 million just to tell them why there are delivery protests. Any fool can see why and any fool can see it's all just a bid to cream off the taxpayers. With a govt like this there cannot be a future in SA.
I agree that waste in government expensditure, including the 40bn world cup, the arms deal 60bn, the pebble bed reactor 8bn, the billions waster on crony contractrs in housing and elswhere, the over employment of people in government office jobs swelling the size of the an utterly inefficient bureacracy... all this is true. There are considerable funds to be re-prioritised even now. But the credibility gap of teachers and many other "public servants" is real. Their reputuation for petty theft and grand larceny from Home Affairs to Human Settlements is not undeserved. Wage increases for public servants are permanent added costs and have to be paid and compounded by future increases indefinitely into the future. So these costs are different from some of the wasteful expenditure mentioned. Yes, teachers and nurses deserve more. But inflation will be a feature of our landscape in 18 months time for sure. And these increases will be taken away. And if strikers have been abadoning patients in wards and closing down emergency trauma units then we should expect NEHAWU and COSATU to take the lead in rectifying the situation and condemning it and ensuring that sufficient staff is kept on to mantain so that no harm comes to people who, as Dr. Dhlomo, MEC of health in KZN pointed out, may be the child of a striking worker who has been injured and who needs emergency attention. Striking health workers could surely not intend this to happen? Its up to the unions involved and the workers to take corrective steps immediately.