Community Healthcare Workers (CHWs) from around Gauteng picketed outside the Department of Health (DoH) on 7 October 2020 in Commissioner Street, Johannesburg.
At least 200 CHWs are currently ‘un-contracted’ and have not been absorbed as permanent under the government like other CHWs in the province. The 200 CHWs that are not contracted include some who refused to sign contracts with the labour broker company, Smart Purse in 2016 as part their struggle against the outsourcing of their services at the time; and others who the Department claims were ‘deleted from the system’.
The ‘un-contracted’ workers went to the DoH demanding answers and reinstatement. The picket, consisting of about 30 protestors, began at the offices of the DoH early in the morning and ended at midday. The memorandum demands that the Department reinstate all CHWs that have been left out when the DoH absorbed CHWs into the Department as permanent employees. It also demands that all CHWs’ outstanding salaries from 2016 be paid in full and that all these CHWs be employed permanently with benefits
Mr Nnoke Rakgoale, from the District Health Service, came out to meet the CHWs and received the memorandum. He said that the DoH would be ready to respond in two days’ time from 7 October. He also asked for the list of ‘un-contracted’ CHWs which he was given, as well as a memorandum directed to the Gauteng Department of Health.
At the end of the short meeting with Rakgoale, the Gauteng Community Health Care Forum (the Forum) Deputy Chairperson, Klaas Nakedi, informed the picketers that the Department was looking to verify the list. He added that the Forum would communicate the contents of the email which the DoH said it would send by Friday, 9 October 2020, and then decide a way forward.
These 200 CHWs who have been left out were part of the struggle of CHWs for the government to recognise them as permanent employees of the Department. The CHWs through their organisation, the Forum, won an arbitration award in 2018 which declared them as permanent workers of the DoH. The majority of CHWs are now permanent employees since July 2020, but the struggle for the 200 still continues.
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