Health workers in Limpopo are gearing up for a day of labour action where they will down tools and march to government offices on today (Wednesday) to raise a number of grievances. According to an IoL report, the National Education, Health and Allied Workers’ Union (Nehawu) said that the Limpopo Health MEC Phophi Ramathuba, has failed in her duties to resolve systemic challenges in health, and they demand that she must be fired.
The union said there was an extreme shortage of staff in the province and that health facilities were suffering from a continuous shortage of pharmaceutical supplies.
The report says among other demands Nehawu wants addressed are the withdrawal of circulars which grounded government vehicles and the appointment of community health workers as full time employees of the department.
Embattled Gauteng Health has come under fire from hundreds of community service nurses who have accused it of withholding their payments for more than six months after they commenced their jobs.
IoL reports that last week, more than a dozen Democratic Nursing Organisation of SA members marched on the department’s head offices in downtown Johannesburg where they demanded that the more than 600 workers be immediately paid their salaries.
The report says the concerned nurses are graduates of the national government’s nursing programme in which nursing students are trained for four years with a stipend and then placed in various provinces as salaried community service nurses for a year before being fully absorbed into the system. The department however, failed to ensure that they received their salaries after their placement, leaving them to survive on their stipends.
Lukhele admitted that Gauteng Health had failed the nurses in terms of translating their stipends into salaries.
The report says Lukhele absolved himself of any blame for the recurring crisis, blaming the management of the process by the department’s human resource department.
He is quoted in the report as saying the department would probe and speedily resolve the crisis.