18 March 2019

Limpopo can't afford to renew community service contracts

586 Limpopo health professionals abruptly became unemployed when their contracts ended in January.

Democratic Nursing Organisation of South Africa (DENOSA) in Limpopo is confident that it will be able to convince Department of Health officials to renew employment contracts for community service pharmacists, intern-nurses and other professionals.

These 586 professionals found their work ended abruptly when their employment contracts ended in January. The department cited budget constraints when it informed the workers that their 12-month contracts would not be renewed.

Budget constraints

Denosa provincial organiser Jacob Molepo said his organisation is confident that the matter will be resolved by the next financial year because the ongoing employment challenges are negatively affecting patients as clinics are struggling to operate 24 hours a day.

“We are trying to get the department to sit around the table to discuss about the matter as the new financial year is close, and they haven’t confirmed the date of the meeting yet,” said Molepo.

“The department’s last position was that they would reappoint community health workers in the next financial year. However at the moment we want to push them to give us an undertaking that when they speaking about the new financial year, and specifically when are they going to have the budget, so that all processes and formalities will be followed and by April 1 all workers be reappointed.

“This affects communities negatively through the services rendered at the health facilities. Most of the clinics that were earmarked to operate 24 hours cannot provide such service due to a shortage of nurses,” he said.

During a press briefing in January Health MEC Dr Phophi Ramathuba indicated that community service health workers recruited in 2018 had been given 12 month contracts, which meant that when their contracts ended they could seek employment in both private and public sectors. She said her department would need an additional R330-million per financial year to absorb all 586 personnel concerned, and was something provincial treasury had advised against due to budget constraints. – Health-e News.

Image credit: iStock


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