The Struggle of Un-contracted CHWs in Gauteng

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It has been more than four years since many un-contracted Community Healthcare Workers (CHWs) in Gauteng were unfairly dismissed by the Department of Health (DoH) in 2016. The CHWs who were dismissed include the ones who refused to sign with a private company called SmartPurse Solutions that the DoH brought in as a way of outsourcing CHWs. The DoH failed to recognise CHWs, even after the Labour Court ruled that Gauteng CHWs are permanent employees of the DoH in 2016.

The Forum has been fighting the DoH to reinstate all CHWws who were dismissed. The Forum has sent a list of un-contracted CHWs which was verified and updated by the former Health MEC Dr Gwen Ramokgopa. The Forum has also tried to meet with the current MEC for Health Dr Bandile Masuku who has failed to respond.

On 7 October 2020 CHWs picketed at the DoH demanding answers and reinstatement of un-contracted CHWs. Mr Nnoke Rakgoale from the District Health Service came out to meet CHWs and received the memorandum. He said the Department would respond in two days, but up to now the Department has failed to respond to the emails of the Forum on this issue.

In 2018 CHWs were again favoured by the findings of an Arbitrator from the Public Health and Social Development Sectorial Bargaining Council (PHSDSC), who was brought in to settle the dispute between CHWs and the Department. The Arbitrator gave an award that CHWs are permanent employees on an indefinite contract basis.

It is now the plan of the Forum to take the Department to Bargaining Council to enforce the reinstatement of the un-contracted CHWs, since the Department continues to ignore the Forum and it is clear that they don’t take this issue seriously.

This article was submitted on 21 December 2020. You may republish this article, so long as you credit the authors and Karibu! Online (, and do not change the text. Please include a link back to the original article.

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