On 10 September 2020, the Gauteng Community Health Care Forum (the Forum), and the Mpumalanga Community Healthcare Workers (CHWs) met at Mount Zion Baptist Church, in ward 28, Thembisile Hani local municipality. The meeting was held to discuss the struggle of CHWs in Mpumalanga for permanent employment by the Department of Health (DoH).
The Forum delegation was led by the Chairperson, Patricia Makhubu, and the Treasurer, Ida Adonis to collaborate on how to action a plan. The Mpumalanga carers who attended the meeting shared that the majority of the CHWs in the province have been absorbed into the clinics as volunteers under the DoH in all Regions, except for 82 CHWs have been sidelined the department.
“The Department has advertised our posts, and we are forced to apply for them”, said Zakhele, a CHW in Mpumalanga. Mr Sithole, another CHW from Mpumalanga added that “CHWs should not have to apply for the job they are already performing for the department. We want to be treated equally, like they did with other carers when they were absorbed,” he said. “Community healthcare work is being undermined even though we are competent at our job. CHWs are excluded from the process, and nobody explained the reasons why?”
The Mpumalanga CHWs demand that all 82 CHWs excluded by the Department of Health be absorbed immediately, and all 82 CHWs excluded from the process of absorption be paid their stipends that they have lost up to now.
On the same day, the meeting went to the Sub-District Offices of the Department of Health to hand over a memorandum of their grievances. Mr S.K. Mahlangu received the memorandum and acknowledged that he knew about the grievances raised by the CHWs, and promised to take up the matter with the Sub-District Director who is responsible. The memorandum was handed over peacefully.
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