Several thousand nurses were sacked in a terse statement issued on Tuesday evening by Vice President Constantino Chiwenga, who accused the strikers of being “politically motivated”.
Patients were turned away from major hospitals this week after the nurses began their industrial action, weeks after doctors had ended their own strike.
“Government has decided in the interest of patients and of saving lives to discharge all the striking nurses with immediate effect,” Chiwenga said in a statement.
He said unemployed and retired nurses would be hired to replace those fired.
Chiwenga was the military general who led the ousting of Robert Mugabe in November when the army briefly took control and ushered Emmerson Mnangagwa into the presidency.
Chiwenga described the nurses’ strike as “deplorable and reprehensible” as the government had released $17 million (14 million euros) to boost their pay and allowances.
He said the funds would now be used to employ new nurses.
Zimbabwe’s nurses association said they “noted” Chiwenga’s statement but added that they remained on strike.
After Mugabe’s 37-year rule, Mnangagwa has vowed to revive the country’s moribund economy and attract foreign investment to fund better public services.
More than 90 percent of Zimbabwe’s budget is spent on government wages.
Teachers at public schools have threatened to go on strike if their pay is not increased.
Zimbabwe is due to hold elections in July or August, the first since the shock fall of Mugabe, who ruled since independence from Britain in 1980.
Mnangagwa, Mugabe’s former deputy, is a veteran loyalist in the ruling ZANU-PF party. DM
Watch Pauli van Wyk’s Cat Play The Piano Here!
No, not really. But now that we have your attention, we wanted to tell you a little bit about what happened at SARS.
Tom Moyane and his cronies bequeathed South Africa with a R48-billion tax shortfall, as of February 2018. It's the only thing that grew under Moyane's tenure... the year before, the hole had been R30.7-billion. And to fund those shortfalls, you know who has to cough up? You - the South African taxpayer.
It was the sterling work of a team of investigative journalists, Scorpio’s Pauli van Wyk and Marianne Thamm along with our great friends at amaBhungane, that caused the SARS capturers to be finally flushed out of the system. Moyane, Makwakwa… the lot of them... gone.
But our job is not yet done. We need more readers to become Maverick Insiders, the friends who will help ensure that many more investigations will come. Contributions go directly towards growing our editorial team and ensuring that Daily Maverick and Scorpio have a sustainable future. We can’t rely on advertising and don't want to restrict access to only those who can afford a paywall subscription. Membership is about more than just contributing financially – it is about how we Defend Truth, together.
So, if you feel so inclined, and would like a way to support the cause, please join our community of Maverick Insiders.... you could view it as the opposite of a sin tax. And if you are already Maverick Insider, tell your mother, call a friend, whisper to your loved one, shout at your boss, write to a stranger, announce it on your social network. The battle for the future of South Africa is on, and you can be part of it.
Billionaire oil tycoon J Paul Getty had a pay phone in his home so he wouldn't have to pay for guests' calls.