Cape Town - The Department of Health and Wellness has revealed that the contracts of more than 800 employees contracted to assist during the Covid-19 pandemic have not been renewed.
During the period 2020-2023, 2 342 staff appointments were made for Covid-19, including vaccinations. Of these, 829 contracts weren’t renewed.
The response emanated from a provincial parliamentary question to the department. ANC Western Cape Health spokesperson Rachel Windvogel addressed the issue of Covid-19 contracts, termination of contracts, and absorption of employees into the system.
Of those contracted during the period, 43 were allied health professionals, 155 doctors, 1 549 nurses, 27 pharmacists, 54 pharmacists assistants, six social workers, and 508 staff, excluding those from the Occupation Specific Dispensation.
A total of 393 staff were made permanent, 426 were absorbed into other positions and 694 remain employed as Covid-19 staff.
Of contracts not renewed, nine were from Allied Health council, 64 doctors, 497 nurses, 16 pharmacists, 17 pharmacists assistants, one social worker, and 225 staff, excluding those from Occupation Specific Dispensation. Department of Health and Wellness spokesperson Mark van der Heever said contract appointments were made based on the available Covid funding.
“Those posts that were absorbed were based on their specialised function within the available vacancies, meaning the posts were not just general functions as with the original contract appointment’s requirements.”
Windvogel said: “When faced with the reality that our health workers are being grabbed by countries in the Middle East and Australasia, it is sad that we aren’t accommodating these much-needed healthcare workers within the health care system in the Western Cape.”
Windvogel said they’d appealed for unemployed healthcare workers to be utilised.
Brackengate Intermediate Care Facility clinician Dr Mohammed Faried Abdullah said following talks with management and the National Public Service Workers Union (NPSWU) on March 22, an agreement was reached which will see short term two-month fixed contracts for staff.
The unit will formally open on June 1 as a transitional care facility. However, staff have said it essentially has been lingering for over eight months. Staff were informed at the end of February that their contracts would be terminated effective March 31, and told to reapply.