By Kefiloe Kajane
The case in which Queen ‘Mamohato Memorial Hospital (known as Tṧepong) is petitioning the Labour Court to compel striking nurses to go back to work has been postponed to Friday next week Friday.
This, in order to afford the hospital more time to prepare for the case. The Labour Court on February 24 ordered the nurses to go back to work and for both parties to reach an amicable settlement to their dispute.
The 310 nurses went to court in their numbers hoping for the case to proceed so they could learn their fate only for the matter to be postponed.
However, the Lesotho Nurses Association’s general secretary Monica Mokhesi pointed out that the nurses’ interest is not so much in the court case because they are not experts on the concept of ‘rule of law’, but are rather more versed in ‘the rule of life’.
Mokhesi vowed that the nurses will continue to fight for their money until the relevant authorities give in to their demands for a salary increase.
She further indicated that Netcare South Africa (which runs Tṧepong) pays its employees very well all over the world where it has hospitals, but fails to understand why it pays Lesotho nurses meagre salaries.
Tṧepong Hospital is a public-private partnership managed by the Tshepong consortium, led by Netcare, a leading South African health care provider.
The hospital was officially inaugurated in 2011, with the hope of bringing modern, high-quality healthcare services to about half a million people—or a quarter of Lesotho’s population—living in Maseru district, and also serving the country as a revamped national referral and teaching hospital.
The World Bank Group provided technical assistance for designing and implementing the facility as a public-private partnership that is aligned with reforms in Lesotho’s health sector to increase access to primary healthcare services and referral care. A grant of $6.25 million was provided through the World Bank-administered Global Partnership for Output-Based Aid to support the process.
The 425-bed hospital was touted to provide several new services, including intensive care, that were not provided at Maseru’s old Queen Elizabeth II hospital.
“The court case may have been postponed but that does not bother us at all because we really know nothing about the law. We have a meeting on Friday (today) with Tṧepong and we are willing to hear what they have to say, but we still stand by what we want,’ Mokhesi said. Meanwhile, the minister of health Semano Sekatle told a local radio station that the