Unpaid CHWs Given The Run-Around

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8 000 Community Healthcare Workers (CHWs) have been insourced by Department of Health (DoH) in Gauteng in July 2020, but after two months not all of them have gotten their salaries, although the Department had promised that salaries will be paid by end of August.

The unpaid CHWs took it upon themselves to go to Department’s Human Resource (HR) office to enquire about their salaries. The Johannesburg Lenasia South HR office was packed on 8 September 2020 by CHWs who wanted to find out about their salaries. The HR department said “we are busy and we have sent your documents to E-Gov (DoH system used to absorb CHWs) which is the one delaying”. The HR office also said CHWs may have to sign contracts again as the documentation may be lost.

Loveness, a CHW from Wildebeesfontein (Polokwane) said “Whats even more frustrating is that they said early September everyone will be paid, and all of a sudden in early September they want new documents. How long will it take for us to get paid?” she concluded angrily. A CHW who did not want to be named said “my sister passed on. I have to bury her and my policies have lapsed. Now I have to go borrow from loan sharks”. Nomathemba, a CHW from Orange Farm Clinic (South of Johannesburg) also said she has been kicked out by a landlord because she could not pay rent for two months and the landlord said he relies on the rent money for his living.

Dr Santana of the DoH also tried to intervene and got back to CHWs saying that the list is long and the HR department is doing its best to get everyone paid to the extent that they will be working overtime. She also said load-shedding is another factor causing the delay. After all this it remains unclear when will CHWs get their salaries.

Karibu! called the Forum Office and asked what the Forum has been doing about the delayed salaries. The office said they are aware of the unpaid CHWs in many regions of Gauteng, and the office has sent a letter to the Department of Health demanding action to pay the CHWs. The office said if no solution is found, CHWs will have to organise action for get the Department to speed up the process.

This article was submitted on 10 September 2020. 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.

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