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Free State health workers protest

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REUTERS

A normal-sized gurney (L) is pictured alongside an oversized one. REUTERS/Marvin Gentry

Bloemfontein - Disgruntled Free State community healthcare workers forced their way into Bophelo House, the provincial health department's headquarters, on Friday the Treatment Action Campaign (TAC) said.

Around 50 people who had not received salaries for more than two months staged a sit-in inside the building. They are receiving support from the TAC.

TAC spokeswoman Mary-Jane Matsolo said they were demonstrating after submitting a memorandum to health MEC Benny Malakoane several weeks ago.

In it, they said that, among other things, they did not want to be paid by non-governmental organisations, but wanted to be absorbed into the government.

“As of now, the community healthcare workers taking action have not been paid their R1500 stipend for the last two months and have received no information regarding the reasons for this,” said Matsolo.

Malakoane responded to the group's memorandum on Wednesday, but Matsolo said they were not satisfied.

Malakoane apparently suggested that those without matric would need to obtain matric certificates and then rejoin the programme. Those who were over the age of 50 would need to retire.

“We need clarity on this,” said Matsolo.

The healthcare workers staged a demonstration and slept outside Bophelo House on Thursday night.

Matsolo said they were ignored by health department workers reporting for duty on Friday.

“No one from the Bophelo House came to address them. The staff and managers were ignoring them, and eventually the healthcare workers forced their way in and demonstrated outside the MEC's office. We were told he is not available.”

Police were called in to monitor the situation.

The CEO and financial manager later came out to hear the demonstrators' grievances. They promised the MEC would response within seven days.

The MEC's spokesman Mondli Mvambi could not be reached for comment.

Sapa


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