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Nehawu wants answers over shooting of North West health workers during protest

Nehawu said police opened fire on some of its members during a protest at Witrand hospital earlier this month.

FILE: The union is calling for an immediate investigation into who called the police to the scene and ordered them to fire into the crowd. Photo: EWN.

JOHANNESBURG — The Nehawu Health Care Workers Union is demanding answers from the North West Police Commissioner on Monday.

He said police opened fire on some of his members during a protest at Witrand hospital earlier this month.

The union is calling for an immediate investigation into who called the police to the scene and ordered them to fire into the crowd.

Nehawu, in the Tlokwe region, said he was appalled and dismayed by the incident. He described the ordeal as a brazen attack and demands Commissioner Sello Kwena respond to their letter by Wednesday this week.

On April 7, workers at the Witrand psychiatric hospital knocked down tools and organized a demonstration in front of the establishment. They claim that they did not receive performance bonuses while the hospital management received bonuses.

The union said police quickly arrived and fired rubber bullets at the workers.

North West Police spokeswoman Amanda Funani confirmed Eyewitness News that the police fired rubber bullets at the demonstrators to disperse them. She said Ipid is now investigating the matter.

But Nehawu Regional Organizer Rantekane Kgoadi said he planned to take the matter to Police Minister Bheki Cele, adding that the North West Police’s response to his member’s protest was reckless.

“We gave him an ultimatum that he must come back to us with a full report of what really happened, why were our members shot by the police?”

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