Hospersa wants apology over Addington hospital radiotherapy debacle
Saturday, 25 May 2013 09:05
The Health and Other Services Personnel Trade Union of SA on Friday demanded a public apology from KwaZulu-Natal Health MEC Sibongiseni Dhlomo for shutting down two radiotherapy machines at Durban's Addington Hospital. The MEC's reasons for the move were "absurd", it said. Dhlomo told reporters that when the department stopped paying the maintenance contract with Tecmed, which was a part of the original 2009 tender, he had not expected technicians to stop servicing the machines. He said on Thursday that his department would resume payments to Tecmed. Hospersa spokesperson Michelle Connolly said: "Firstly, what did he think was going to happen? Secondly, when the technicians stopped coming, his department failed to rectify the matter for the following five months." Connolly said hundreds of cancer patients per day did not receive their treatment and some of them were now dying.
Business Day reported on Friday that proceedings at the Farlam Commission have been criticised for moving at a snail’s pace and lawyers are becoming impatient with "long" and "irrelevant" cross-examinations. The commission is investigating the deaths of 44 people in strike-related violence at Lonmin's platinum mine in Marikana in August last year. Last month, lawyers expressed concern it could take up to eight months to hear from all the witnesses, and the second phase of the commission would probably only start next year. Over the past five weeks, the testimony of police witness Maj-Gen Charl Annandale has been dragged out as each question and answer has had to be translated a number of times. Annandale concluded his testimony on Wednesday. The drawn-out proceedings were also taking a toll on families of the deceased as, not only are they subjected to continued graphic testimony of the day, but they have also yet to hear anyone taking responsibility for the deaths.
Prostitutes brief MPs on decriminalization of sex work
Saturday, 25 May 2013 07:46
MPs should join other respected local and international groups to push for the decriminalisation of prostitution, rights activists told Parliament's joint committee on HIV/Aids on Friday. The committee met prostitutes to gauge their views on how to prevent the high level of HIV infection. A number of prostitutes gave MPs an insight into their lives. Sex Workers Education and Advocacy Taskforce (Sweat) director Sally Shackleton pointed out that, "The Commission for Gender Equality just last week released a policy paper in support of decriminalisation. Cosatu has a resolution in support of decriminalisation. The WHO (World Health Organisation) in December released a policy brief that also recommended that states decriminalise sex work in order to address HIV and poor public health." It was not clear whether MPs were leaning in the direction of decriminalisation, but they acknowledged the fact that sex work had become hidden because it was a criminal offence.
No agreement at Lonmin could bring ‘devastating consequences’, says UASA
Saturday, 25 May 2013 07:30
The lack of a binding collective bargaining agreement at Lonmin’s platinum operations will see turbulence in the industry continue with devastating consequences to the economy and the value of SA’s currency, the United Association of SA said on Friday. Uasa’s Franz Stehring called on all the parties involved “to apply their minds and explore all ways and means to resolve the matter." On Thursday, no agreement could be reached at the CCMA between Lonmin and the Association of Mineworkers and Construction Union (Amcu) on a new recognition agreement, the company reproted. Lonmin has asked that the matter be resolved through arbitration, but Amcu has not yet agreed to that.
Cosatu said on Friday it was disappointed by the SA Reserve Bank’s decision to keep the repo rate unchanged at five percent. "The committee has missed yet another opportunity to save and create jobs by giving a boost to growth and investment and to encourage emerging businesses," the federation’s spokesman Patrick Craven said. "Unemployed workers in particular will be dismayed at yet another conservative monetary policy decision, based on a groundless fear of rising inflation, when by far the biggest problem in our economy is the crisis of massive unemployment and widespread poverty." Craven took exception to SARB Governor Gill Marcus's call for restraint in wage increases, and her comments that the slow pace of employment in the private sector was undermined by the "fractious nature of recent wage negotiations".