Forum on its way to independence

From the 24th to the 26th of March 2017, the Gauteng Community Health Care Forum (the Forum) concluded their strategic planning workshop, facilitated by Khanya College in Cullinan, Pretoria, and attended by Forum committee members. This workshop was a follow up from one that happened earlier in the year.

An important discussion that took place was around the Forum becoming an independent and self-sufficient organisation. Khanya College has been the Forum’s supporting structure for over seven years, providing support to Community Healthcare Workers (CHWs) since 2009, through to 2013 when the Forum was officially launched, up until now. Forum committee members also discussed the structure of the Forum, and what the newly independent Forum will look like.

The resolution taken was that the Forum register itself as a NPO (non-profit organisation). It was pointed out that it must set up its organisational structures which will take care of the livelihood of the Forum. Another resolution is that bank accounts will be opened and a finance committee was elected. The Forum decided that members should start paying subscription fees that will sustain the Forum.

It was also resolved that the Forum will begin to rent an office for its daily operations at the end of April 2017. The office will function as a centre to manage resources of the Forum and co-ordinate the daily struggles faced by CHWs. As soon as the organisational structures of the Forum are set up and functional the Forum has decided to continue to fight for the removal of Smartpurse, and to force the Department of Health to obey the Labour Court ruling stating CHWs are permanent workers of the Department.

The arbitration at the Public Health and Social Development Bargaining Council has been postponed to early June and preparation for the arbitration has started, with Forum members visiting clinics to inform CHWs.

With the renewal of the fixed term contracts by Smartpurse beginning at the end of March, the Forum decided to take up issues around the difficulties that Smartpurse has brought to CHWs regarding the renewal of contracts. Forum members decided to be present at all signing stations around Gauteng to facilitate and help CHWs who are having difficulties with the process, and also to educate CHWs on their rights that have been ignored by Smartpurse. These difficulties include CHWs not receiving their payslips, outstanding payments and many other hardships that the Forum has taken up.

The Forum has also set up a helpline where CHWs with any problems or issues can call the Forum. The Forum organisers and lawyers will take these issues and problmes up and ensure they are resolved. The Helpline is available during working hours (between 8am and 4pm).

Helpline number:

082 3622 953

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