Hire our doctors! Over 1000 unemployed medical doctors march for jobs in three cities

Trade Unions Samatu and alliances marching to the Department of health to address the plight of non-placement of doctors in the country.

Trade Unions Samatu and alliances marching to the Department of health to address the plight of non-placement of doctors in the country.

Published Jan 26, 2023


Johannesburg – Over 1000 unemployed medical doctors who took to the streets of Pretoria demanding jobs were needed for their expertise in clinics and hospitals, and not in picket lines, so says the South African Medical Association Trade Union (Samatu).

This was the view of Samatu’s general secretary Dr. Cedric Sihlangu, who speaking during an interview with SAFM.

Samatu, along with over 1000 unemployed doctors across a number of provinces, embarked on a march on Thursday in Gauteng, Eastern Cape and KZN, against the unemployment of doctors despite shortages in the healthcare sector.

“The march is to raise the plight of more than a thousand unemployed doctors in the country, as we all know the South African healthcare system has plunged into a crisis so we can’t then have doctors sitting at home when we know that we have a very strained doctor to patient ratio.

“This is not only about the unemployed doctors, but also about the failing health system that needs their expertise ”

The union also expressed concern that almost 90% of the population could not afford private healthcare, and that figure could increase if qualified doctors remained unemployed,.

Healthcare was a basic human right, they said, and yet people had to queue for over 4 to 5 hours just to see a healthcare professional, while there were qualified professional who the health department was not making use of.

“The people that preside over the public healthcare system in this country do not subscribe to it,” said Sihlangu.

Department of Health Deputy Director-General for hospital services, Dr Percy Mahlathi said: “What we are concerned about is the challenges that we all face regarding the public health services, and our attempt is to improve, not only the quality but also the extent of access to the health services.

“Samatu will march and from the department of health’s point of view, we will receive the memorandum, look at it and see what we can do.”

Mahlathi acknowledged that the department was aware of the crisis, but was only aware of 200 unemployed doctors, not the 1000 mentioned by the union.

He said the department was committed to receiving the memorandum and responding to it in due course.

“The issue is that we are understaffed, we need doctors. The issue is also that health services are under-funded, we depend of budgets that get allocated by the national treasury and you cannot employ people in public service and you do not have money to pay them.” said Mahlathi.

“The government has got a constitutional responsibility to provide and render healthcare services,” said Sihlangu