The Health and Allied Workers Indaba Trade Union (HAITU) is demanding the removal of Gauteng Health MEC Nomantu Nkomo-Ralehoko and her management team, accusing them of exploiting temporary workers stationed at provincial health facilities.

Bafana Tshabalala, HAITU Gauteng Chairperson says the provincial health department needs an urgent overhaul.

On Monday morning, workers affiliated with HAITU protested outside the Gauteng health department offices. They also converged on Premier Panyaza Lesufi’s office. The union wants the provincial government to offer permanent posts to temporary workers.

“These people are clueless. We are dealing with a very arrogant and incompetent health MEC together with her team. The MEC knows nothing about health establishments. She has to fully rely on her incompetent management team, which has failed to address burning issues. If those people are not removed all these problems which we face now will continue.”

Critical shortages of healthcare workers

He accused the provincial health department of violating the rights and dignity of workers, particularly temporary staff.

Tshabalala says the province continues to battle a critical staff shortage but the Gauteng health department is not giving permanent jobs to temporary staff. “We are short-staffed. While they let go of those who are on contracts claiming that they do not have money which is not true. If this is not addressed urgently we will fail in our constitutional obligation to provide health care services to our people,” says Tshabalala.

Tshabalala says although the issues have been brought to the department’s attention for over a year nothing has changed.

Their demands include the following:

  • The permanent employment of all healthcare workers on covid-19 contracts who were excluded in 2022 when the department opted to retain only covid-19 contract workers in central and tertiary hospitals.
  • Permanent employment of all nurses who were subjected to contract employment of labour brokers(nursing agencies)
  • Permanent employment of all expanded Public Works Programme (EPWP) workers.
  • End outsourcing of the security services within public health facilities.

HAITU General Secretary, Lerato Mthunzi, says it’s painful that healthcare workers who were at the forefront of South Africa’s battle against Covid-19 are being exploited and forgotten.

“Healthcare workers on contracts have been used and exploited which is wrong and painful. This exploitation cannot continue on our watch. This needs to come to an end,” says Mthunzi.-Health-e News

Author

  • Ndivhuwo Mukwevho

    Ndivhuwo Mukwevho is citizen journalist who is based in the Vhembe District of Limpopo province. He joined OurHealth in 2015 and his interests lie in investigative journalism and reporting the untold stories of disadvantaged rural communities. Ndivhuwo holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in Media Studies from the University of Venda and he is currently a registered student with UNISA.