27 May 2009

No pay: dept blames NGOs

Aids counsellors, who have not been paid since March, work for NGOs, not for the health department, according to a spokesman.

The Gauteng department of health does not employ Aids counsellors, it said on Wednesday.

"Aids counsellors are employed by NGOs, who in turn enter into agreement with the Gauteng health department for funding towards this service," spokesman JP Louw said in a statement.

No pay since March
This came after the Democratic Alliance in Gauteng said 2000 voluntary HIV/Aids counsellors and courtesy managers have not been paid their monthly R1000 stipend since March this year.

Louw said problems experienced in signing contracts and allocations have resulted in a month's delay in processing payments.

"The department has been in the process of applying pressure for submission of outstanding documentation, and the MEC for health and social development, Qedani Mahlangu, has instructed that the matter be resolved by Friday," he said.

DA spokesman on health Jack Bloom said the counsellors were the latest victims of the Gauteng health department's inability to budget properly and to pay timeously.

"These lay counsellors perform an invaluable role, yet many now cannot even afford transport to come to work," he said.

Not the first time
He said pay interruptions had occurred several times over the past few years. The department said to date payment had been approved and processed for 767 counsellors.

"It is not possible to speculate on the number of outstanding (2000) as these can only be confirmed against approved and contracted NGOs and the list of counsellors they submit," Louw said.

- (Sapa, May 2009)

Read more:
HIV/Aids Centre
Early HIV treatment best


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