All Africa report: The Southern African Catholic Bishops' Conference has expressed its concern at the incidences of violence and intimidation perpetrated by participants in the public servants strike in South Africa.
"In particular, we abhor the inhuman conduct of denying doctors and patients' access to hospitals and teachers and pupils' access to their schools. We are horrified that care is being denied to the weakest and most vulnerable," they said.
"We call on all educators and healthcare workers, especially, those who are Catholics to examine their own conscience and action seriously. While we uphold and support your right to strike, we call on you to recognise the rights of others to choose freely what they want to do," they said in a press statement
The bishops further said, "In particular, we call on you to give serious consideration to the poor, the vulnerable, the sick and the young people who are desperately striving for a better life by completing their education."
The bishops pleaded with the Public Service Commission and Ministry of Education to ensure that in future, negotiations about educators' remuneration are scheduled for the beginning of the year so as to avoid educators' strikes at a time when the Matric Students were preparing for their final examinations.