Durban — The National Education, Health and Allied Workers’ Union (Nehawu) says the Health Budget Vote for the financial year 2023/24 by Minister of Health Dr Joe Phaahla is underwhelming and reflects the overall health crisis that confronts South Africa’s healthcare system.
The general secretary of the union Zola Saphetha said they firmly rejected and dismissed the notion by Phaahla, that government is working through long-lasting solutions to appoint Community Health Workers (CHWs) permanently.
Saphetha claims Phaahla has lied to the public.
“In fact, the NDoH and the National Minimum Wage Commission are planning to establish a sectoral determination for CHWs, going against Section 55 (7) (a) of the BCEA, which provides that Phaahla may not publish a sectoral determination – covering employees and employers who are bound by a collective agreement concluded at a bargaining council,” Saphetha said.
Phaahla tabled his budget vote on Tuesday in the National Assembly. He said the department had just under 5 000 CHW in service and was aware that it needed more.
Phaahla said the department’s human resources team was working through PSB Council to find a lasting solution for long-term or permanent engagement of CHWs.
Saphetha said if the minister was serious about the Public Health and Social Development Sectoral Bargaining Council processes, he must denounce all processes aimed at establishing a sectoral determination.
“While Phaahla praises frontline workers during the battle against Covid-19, he also prescribes further uncertainty and insecurity to workers,” explained Saphetha.
Nehawu reiterated its position for the permanent employment of CHWs who must be integrated into the public health system. Saphetha said currently, the integration of these workers into the public health system had not been achieved.
“Their employment is still fragmented which makes them vulnerable to exploitation,” said Saphetha.
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