A fire destroyed bundles of bed sheets and patient attire at Pelonomi Hospital on Monday afternoon in what the Free State Health Department is calling sabotage. The department alleges that striking Nehawu workers started the fire.
The South African Police Services (SAPS) is investigating a case of arson.
Fire an attempt to collapse services
Provincial Health Department spokesman Mondli Mvambi says they do not know how the culprits entered the linen bank. They also avoided police stationed at the hospital during the strike.
“We will do our own investigation while the SAPS is investigating the case of arson. We believe whoever did this is attempting to sabotage. And since there was a week-long strike whoever did this was adding to our collapse of services,” he says.
Firefighters were dispatched to the hospital on Monday afternoon after receiving an anonymous tip-off. This was the second fire in a week. A blaze was started in the same area on March 6. The hospital only became aware of that fire when a laundry truck arrived to take away dirty linens and deliver clean ones.
Not all linen was destroyed
Nobody was injured in either fire but all the linens in the bank at the time were destroyed. Mvambi says the hospital does have linen despite what was lost in the fire on Monday.
“The fire department arrived whilst management was still signing off clean linen that was safely delivered by the provincial laundry truck about 2 hours earlier,” he says.
Police left the Pelonomi hospital on Monday afternoon after the Labour Appeals Court interdicted the strike and ordered Nehawu members to return to work immediately. – Health-e News