MORE than 70 000 applications have been received for 329 posts that were advertised for the newly-built Khayelitsha Hospital.
This was disclosed by a District Health Services official after about 50 angry Mandela Park residents protested outside of the hospital yesterday, claiming they were not given preference for jobs at the new facility.
Their protest came as Khayelitsha ward councillors said unemployment in the township was increasing every year.
Principal Communications Officer for the District Health Services, Sithembiso Magubane said a total of 329 posts for nursing and general staff had been available at the new hospital.
“We received more than 70 000 applications. The department has been, and continues to be, in consultation with the community via the community forum. The department is following the recruitment and selection procedure in filling the advertised posts,” he said.
Magubane said 45 nursing assistants and 25 nurses started work at the hospital yesterday.
Zoleka Maganise, 32, a single mother of two children aged six weeks and 11 years was among the residents who protested outside the hospital yesterday.
“I have my matric and a certificate for computer training I finished three years ago, but still I have no luck getting a job. I applied for eight different posts in November at this hospital,” she said.
Maganise said she had applied for a job, was told she would be notified within three months, but she has yet to hear from the hospital’s management: “The hospital is opening soon and I still haven’t heard anything. At the moment, I have a casual job, but that contract ends at the end of this month. I have to see to my two children, one of them attends school, but I don’t have a lot of money for everything.
“I still live with my parents because I can’t afford to buy or rent a place of my own. So I help my parents and my 27-year-old sister who’s also unemployed and has not been able to find a job,” she said.
Maganise said Khayelitsha residents should be chosen first when jobs at the hospital were allocated. “Our community already has a very high unemployment rate,” she said.
Mthalo Mkutswana, councillor for Ward 97 which includes Mandela Park said: “Unemployment is very high in our community. In some cases there is a lack of qualifications, but in my ward I have a list of young qualified people willing to work.”
In his ward alone, there were an estimated 1 500 unemployed people, he said.
“Every year I see children who matriculate sit at home because they can’t get a job or they don’t have enough experience,” Mkutswana said.
Yesterday, protest leaders handed a memorandum to a representative of the hospital’s management. Their demands included having at least 60 percent of new employees sourced from Khayelitsha.
They also wanted MEC for Health, Theuns Botha to address their grievances.
Police spokesman Frederick van Wyk said: “After the handing over of the memorandum, the protesters dispersed peacefully. Police members will remain in the area to monitor the situation and make sure that everything is kept under control.”