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HLATIKHULU – The Hlatikhulu Government Hospital was almost turned into a battleground after riot police invaded the facility, while nurses were engaged in a protest action.

Patients, who had come for various ailments, had no alternative but to watch the spectacle as nurses, who were supposed to care for them, became embroiled in heated moments with the police.
Angry nurses who were demonstrating around the hospital premises confronted the police after the latter became aggressive and ordered them to halt their action.

The nurses, who were in high spirits, refused to give in and shouted at the officers to address them through their leadership, instead of harassing them for no apparent reason.

Sparking the anger was the abusive language that was allegedly employed by the over 10 officers, who were sent to the hospital.
Furthermore, another officer also threatened to use teargas on the protesting nurses, leading to the verbal showdown.

It took the swift action of the nurses’ leadership, who intervened to suppress the potentially volatile situation. The leadership tried to talk sense to the officers; they advised them to first get clarification about what was going on as opposed to yelling and cursing at them.


However, after about 45 minutes of deliberations, the officers seemed to recognise their initial mistake and left the hospital premises with their guns.
It all began when the nurses started singing and chanting slogans around the hospital premises as early as 9am, in protest over what they described as unfair treatment by their management.

As the protestors were demonstrating, three officers arrived and asked them to stop what they were doing. The protestors refused. Then the officers called for backup, and over 10 armed officers quickly descended on the lot and started yelling at the protestors.
Meanwhile, operations were grounded in most departments of the hospital as the nurses engaged in their protest. Most affected departments were the Out-Patient Department, Casualty section, as well as the wards.

A spot check discovered that in the wards, there was an unfamiliar quietness with no nurses doing the usual rounds. Instead, patients were found chatting among each other, while others with serious health issues slept in their beds unattended.
Desperate patients who had travelled long distances were seen leaving the hospital to seek services in other facilities, while others were seen going into a nearby pharmacy for immediate relief.

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