The Forum has engaged with the Department Of Health (DoH) regarding the case of non-payments of CHWs for a period of three months after they were pronounced permanent and on probation. The case mostly involved the Community Healthcare Workers (CHWs) from the West Rand and Johannesburg Metro. The office of the Forum has written a direct letter to one of the regional Human Resource (HR) departments threatening to take action against them for breaking the labour laws. The Forum was also invited by Right 2 Know to be part of their picketing campaign for to demand government address corruption and accountability in the health department during coronavirus, which took place at Gauteng Department of Health in Commissioner Street.
Un-contracted CHWs Campaign
The Forum office called upon un-contracted CHWs on 3 October 2020 in preparation for the Forum’s own picketing campaign. The aim of the Forum’s picketing campaign is to force the DoH to reinstate all the un-contracted CHWs who were left out in 2016. The Forum office also issued petition forms for comrades to sign and also take them to the clinics they were working in to build awareness and solidarity. The petition was also issued to the sub-committee members to engage other Forum members to support this campaign.
On 7 October 2020 the un-contracted CHWs picketed outside the DoH offices in Johannesburg and the memorandum of demands was submitted and received by Mr Rakgoale. He promised to get back to the Forum by 9 October 2020, but to date there hasn’t been a response from the DoH. On 28 October 2020 the Forum office sent a follow up letter to the acting MEC Mr Mamabolo. The Forum also held meeting with the un-contracted comrades from Ekurhuleni, Johannesburg and Tshwane to draft a plan to reach more clinics to sign the petitions in support of their struggle to get their jobs back. The Forum is calling all un-contracted CHWs to avail themselves to participate in their struggle to get their jobs back.
Forum Provincial Campaigns
The Forum office is still trying to help comrades of Mpumalanga to mobilise themselves to pursue their case of unfair dismissal and outstanding payments owed to them. It has also created a petition form for the Mpumalanga comrades to involve their communities and other CHWs in the region to be part of this campaign. We are also assisting CHWs in the North West province to organise and mobilise carers in building their North West Forum and lodging the case for permanent employment with the North West Bargaining Council.
The sub-committees had their workshops on different portfolios – legal, finance, and FAJ on 10 October 2020. The finance office has also issued statements to the Forum members to make them aware about how much each individual member owes to the organisation in monthly subscription and how the comrades can settle their debts.
Khanya Feminist Network
The Khanya Feminist Network has played a very big role in the lives of the CHWs. The working-class women in the network are still meeting and sharing reading materials to empower women every Thursday night. As the office we urge all the members to participate fully in the Feminist Network.
This article was first published in Forum News, the newsletter of the Gauteng Community Health Care Forum, in its’ October 2020 edition.