ANC faces backlash over unemployed KZN doctors

ANC secretary-general Fikile Mbalula. | Independent Newspapers

ANC secretary-general Fikile Mbalula. | Independent Newspapers

Published Apr 3, 2024


Social media users have come after ANC secretary-general Fikile Mbalula for “publicly lying” at a volunteers’ rally, saying all doctors in the country had been hired.

As scenes of police clashing with young unemployed doctors in KwaZulu-Natal (KZN) staging a sit-in outside the Health Department offices in Pietermaritzburg surfaced online, many have come after Mbalula for attempting to deceive the country and ANC members.

Speaking at the ANC Youth League Peter Mokaba Volunteers’ rally at Alexandra Stadium in Johannesburg on March 10, Mbalula told members that all the doctors who had been employed were being employed by the ANC government.

This, however, has not been accepted by many users who blasted him for lying about doctors being employed, especially given recent protests.

The KZN unemployed doctors’ representative, Dr Thanduxolo Cele, speaking during a recent interview, said the altercation between the doctors and members of the SAPS public order policing unit had arisen because the police were told the department’s head had instructed they be dispersed.

This despite, according to Cele, the department having initially agreed to and being aware of the doctors’ presence in anticipation of a scheduled meeting.

Cele said KZN had at least 115 unemployed doctors, 50 of whom had driven long distances to stage the sit-in regarding their being unemployed.

He said the doctors’ uproar over lack of employment in the sector was due to the fact that not only had Minister of Health Dr Joe Phaahla given them assurances that they would be hired from April 1, but that the promise of jobs and the provision of a budget for those jobs had been made by President Cyril Ramaphosa as well as Finance Minister Enoch Godongwana.

“Two ministers and the head of the state have promised us every doctor will be employed by this time, so it is rather unfortunate that we have to stage a sit-in to get the answers we have been seeking.

“We had a march on February 12 and we requested that the department respond to us in two weeks and they still have not done so. At some point when we reached out to the HOD to request a meeting, one of the responses we got was that government officials are campaigning,” he said.

Cele said there had been no posts released that they could apply for, with many of them consulting the health website 10 times a day for vacancies.

“When the health minister was making these promises that we would be employed by April 1, he actually took a swipe at other political parties, that if they thought to use this issue as a campaigning tool they would have already lost, but we are still unemployed here,” Cele said.

The Star

[email protected]