Mpumalanga is one of the Provinces where CHWs are still signing fixed-term contracts and the Department of Health does not recognise them and does not want to hire them permanently. The CHWs earn low wages with no benefits. The Department only knows the CHWs when they need monthly statistics about the community. The CHWs work under dangerous conditions with a shortage of PPEs. The Department claims they don’t have money to pay for PPEs or higher wages.
The CHWs here have been working under these conditions since they were still in the NGOs. In 2016 the department absorbed some CHWs into the clinics but many others were excluded and are still uncontracted.
The CHWs in Mpumalanga have organised themselves into a Forum and are supported by the Gauteng Forum and Khanya College. The Mpumalanga Forum was formed because CHWs were tired of unions who recruit them and promise to help them become permanent. The unions have failed them CHWs. The CHWs are still earning R3500 a month.
Now Mpumalanga Forum forms part of the national case and about 1000 CHWs have signed to be part of the national legal case for permanence for all CHWs.
A ‘roadshow’ to Mpumalanga took place on Saturday, 20 November 2021 at Matsulu Hall. hosted by the Mpumalanga Forum and supported by the Gauteng forum Office Bearers and Khanya College staff. The aim of the roadshow was to recruit CHWs in Matsulu A, B, C and D to be part of the national case. This district has about 500 CHWs distributed over 25 clinics. However, only 35 CHWs attended the meeting and signed the petition.
The team listened to CHWs’ complaints. Masesi, a CHW said: “The Department told us they would recognise prior learning in an RPL process but now they are concerned about the old age of some CHWs and want to exclude them.
The Department also says there are too many CHWs and they need to to transfer them others to other clinics. The Department is strategising to get rid of CHWs.
The Mpumalanga CHWs are happy to be part of national legal case to advance the struggle to become permanent. Employees.
This article was submitted in January 2022 and first published in the Forum News January 2022 edition. You may republish this article, so long as you credit the authors and Karibu! Online (www.Karibu.org.za), and do not change the text. Please include a link back to the original article.