WATCH: Cops fire at protesting health workers, workers charged with public violence

WATCH: Cops fire at protesting health workers, workers charged with public violence

Screenshot of video of police firing rubber bullets at striking nurses at Bongani Hospital, Welkom, Free State, 31 March 2020.

The workers were protesting transportation issues, which had been made difficult due to the 21-day lockdown, and a lack of PPEs.

A case of public violence has been opened after a group of protesting health workers at Bongani Hospital in the Free State blocked the entrance to the hospital on Tuesday, according to national police spokesperson Brigadier Vish Naidoo.

Naidoo said no injuries were reported after police opened fire on the workers, but National Education, Health and Allied Workers Union (Nehawu) Free State spokesperson, Moeketsi Napo, told News24 that two workers had been injured and admitted to hospital.

The workers were protesting transportation issues, which had been made difficult due to the 21-day lockdown.

Naidoo said: “Public Order Policing contained the incident by dispersing the protesters with stun grenades and rubber bullets.”

No arrests have been made, he added.

Health workers at the hospital raised concerns about taking public transport during the lockdown.

Lockdown regulations limit the number of people who can be transported in a vehicle and, as such, workers had to pay for the remaining seats in a taxi.

After discussions with the Free State Department of Health, as well as the hospital, the government has since organised transport to take workers to and from work.

The Independent Police Investigative Directorate (Ipid) has confirmed that it will be investigating the matter. However, no arrests had yet been made, spokesperson Sontaga Seisa said.

(Compiled by Carina Koen)

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