Issued 19 November 2019
It’s been 3 years since 2016 uncontracted Community Health Workers (CHWs) have been out of work. This is after the Gauteng Department of Health (DoH) unfairly dismissed them during the process of outsourcing CHWs to a private company, SmartPurse Solution.
The Gauteng Community Health Care Forum (The Forum) has been fighting the Department of Health to reinstate all the CHWs who were dismissed in 2016. In February this year, The Forum sent a list of uncontracted CHWs which was verified and approved by the Department of Health. Former MEC, Dr Gwen Ramokgopa promised to reinstate all uncontracted CHWs back to work the moment they get a budget for them.
The Forum was surprised by an advert for 500 CHW posts from the Department of Health. The Forum is not against the Department of Health employing additional CHWs as there is a shortage of CHWs in the country. However, the Department of Health needs to consider the uncontracted CHWs first before they can recruit new CHWs. The Forum believes the Department wants to replace the uncontracted CHWs with young people between the age 18 to 36 with matric, as the post in Ekurhuleni states. The Forum has tried to meet with the MEC of Health in Gauteng Dr Bandile Masuku, who failed to respond.
Yesterday the 18 November, uncontracted CHWs went to the office of the MEC looking for answers and demanding to be reinstated back to work as there is now a budget for them.
When we arrived the was no one who wanted to account and meet with uncontracted CHWs. The MEC and his staff claimed to be out of the office. The Forum and Uncontracted CHWs insisted on getting answers. The Chief Director of District Health Services, Ms Meisie Lerutla, assured the Forum the posts will be put on hold and that no new CHWs will be contacted until the Department of Heath resolves the issue of uncontracted CHWs.
The Forum will not take a back step until our fellow comrades are back at work.
Gauteng Community Health Care Forum Secretary
Tshepo Matoko 081 854 0024