S.African doctors march for 50% wage hikeHundreds of South African doctors took to the streets on Friday to demand a 50 percent wage hike and government action to avert a crisis in the country's understocked public hospitals.
The march follows weeks of angry picketing and an illegal strike last month over charges of gross underpay, drug and equipment shortages, and heavy workloads with reports of shifts lasting up to 36 hours.
"We have been sitting on time bomb for a very long time. For many years we knew that doctors were awfully paid and worked under awful conditions," Zwelinzima Vavi Zwelinzima Vavi is General Secretary of Congress of South African Trade Unions (COSATU), and Vice-Chairperson of the Millennium Labour Council.
Vavi was born on a farm in Hanover, Northern Cape, with a mineworker father, four brothers and seven sisters. , leader of the country's powerful labour federation COSATU COSATU Congress of South African Trade Unions told marchers in Pretoria.
"There is crisis looming at all public hospitals. Please address the problem before it explodes. Doctors' pay must rise," he said.
Some 500 doctors marched in Pretoria, calling for better work conditions and the payment of sector wage adjustments that the state has failed to introduce since July last year.
More than 1,000 others took to the streets in Durban, according to according to
1. As stated or indicated by; on the authority of: according to historians.
2. In keeping with: according to instructions.
3. the SAPA SAPA South African Press Association
SAPA Società in Accomandita Per Azioni (Italy)
SAPA Society of Army Physician Assistants
SAPA Saint Paul's Church National Historic Site (US National Park Service) news agency.
The protest came as South Africa South Africa, Afrikaans Suid-Afrika, officially Republic of South Africa, republic (2005 est. pop. 44,344,000), 471,442 sq mi (1,221,037 sq km), S Africa. enters its first post-apartheid recession amid escalating pressures from COSATU for new President Jacob Zuma's government to deliver better wages secured in a crippling 2007 public strike.
The South African Medical Association The South African Medical Association (SAMA) is a trade union in South Africa. It is affiliated with the Congress of South African Trade Unions. External links
In Sufism, the practice of listening to music, chanting, and dancing as a means of producing a state of religious ecstasy and mystical trance. Practitioners hold that music prepares the soul for a deeper comprehension of divine realities and a better appreciation of ), a 17,000-strong body which organised Friday's march, said an independent study had shown that state doctors were underpaid by between 50 and 75 percent.
"Patients are my first priority but our working conditions are demoralising Adj. 1. demoralising - destructive of morale and self-reliance
demoralizing, disheartening, dispiriting
discouraging - depriving of confidence or hope or enthusiasm and hence often deterring action; "where never is heard a discouraging word" , our salaries are a pittance pit·tance
1. A meager monetary allowance, wage, or remuneration.
2. A very small amount: not a pittance of remorse. ," said Ambrose Letsele, who travelled from Bloemfontein, some 460 kilometres (290 miles) south of Johannesburg.
Letsele, who has been working as a medical doctor for five years, said he moonlighted at private hospitals for 1,500 rand (187 dollars, 132 euros) a day to support his family.
"If I manage to work for ten days I earn more than my monthly salary," he told AFP (1) (AppleTalk Filing Protocol) The file sharing protocol used in an AppleTalk network. In order for non-Apple networks to access data in an AppleShare server, their protocols must translate into the AFP language. See file sharing protocol. .
South Africa has more than 14,000 state doctors who serve 80 percent of the 48 million population who cannot afford private health care. Some 43 percent of South Africans live on less than two dollars a day.
Interns take home less than 1,000 dollars (717 euros) after deductions and specialists roughly double that, according to Mpho Mohlala, deputy chairwoman of the United Doctors Forum.
Last month nearly 400 striking doctors were issued with dismissal letters which the health department replaced with final warnings after the boycott was called off, she said.
"We are not giving proper basic care to the patients. You are not doing justice to the patients. Do you think operating (on) a patient without having sleep for 36 hours, you are functioning? You are non-functional," said Mohlala.
"We've got an exodus of doctors leaving the country, going to work somewhere overseas, and we've got lots and lots of doctors moving out of the public sector to the private sector," she told AFP.
After accepting a memorandum of demands from the marchers which included private and public doctors, new Health Minister Aaron Motsoaledi apologised for delay in paying wage adjustments.
"I agree that some people here are really suffering" he said in Pretoria.
"From our side we won't sleep until this issue is resolved, because it has been long overdue."
Health sector strikes are outlawed in South Africa, where doctors are considered an essential service alongside the police, army, and nurses.
The health department on Thursday said that it viewed the protest as illegal, but SAMA said the march was lawful and in line with regulations for public gatherings.