We went to Dr. George Mukhari Hospital in Ga-Rankuwa to volunteer. We had to walk through the protestors to get to the pedestrian gate, which I confess was a little scary. The security guards were refusing entrance to the volunteers- I think because the strikers were intimidating them. We phoned the contact number for volunteers, who phoned the CEO of the hospital, who said that volunteers should have access and that the police was supposed to be helping facilitate things. But the police were nowhere to be found.
The SANDF (South African National Defense Force) has been put in charge of the hospital. Occasionally a few soldiers would walk by to patrol the crowds outside the hospital gate. I went up to every solider I could find (especially the one with big guns) to ask for their help in obtaining our entrance to the hospital. We tried every entrance, every guard, every way we could think. I prayed a lot.
After four hours we were granted entrance, and assigned to help in the orthopaedic ward. We go back tomorrow, but I am a bit nervous as to whether we'll have problems at the gate again. We were given access letters by the hospital administration, but the security guards seem to be under control of the unions. The union workers would stand at the gate and tell the security guards who to let in and who not to let in.
Inside the hospital, however, the SANDF was doing a fantastic job. I saw soldiers folding laundry down in the linen bay, administering drugs to patients, and making sure the hospital was kept in peace. Outside the gates, however, it was chaos.
Here's me posing with two members of the SANDF. I wanted to ask if I could hold the gun, but thought I better not: