In the appeal of the 13 year-old case, Health MEC Nomafrench Mbombo argues that the 50 doctors are not entitled to receive the allowance because it is only payable to public service employees and the doctors are employed by UCT and Stellenbosch University and as such fall outside the registered scope of the bargaining council.
However, in their affidavit opposing the MEC’s appeal, the doctors, led by first respondent, retired principal specialist André Coetzee, maintained that they are entitled to the allowance because they all hold the posts of principal and chief specialists at the relevant public hospitals.
As such, they claim, they fall within the express scope of the collective agreement, as they are “designated health professionals working in public sector hospitals”. The doctors submit that the wording of the collective agreement is clear and unambiguously indicates that the allowance is to be paid by the provincial departments of health to all principal and chief specialists without exception.
The scarce-skills allowance in question was in the amount of 15% of the annual salary earned by the doctors and was payable to designated employees appointed on a full time basis. The allowance was backdated to July 1, 2003, (the implementation date) and remained in force until June 30, 2009, when it was replaced by a new remuneration model (the occupation-specific dispensation) which the respondents are paid as part of their remuneration.