Extended Public Works (EPW) contract employees who work as cleaners and administration clerks at various hospitals and clinics in the province say they are tired of being paid the R 3 500 monthly stipend by the Gauteng Department of Health.
On Thursday morning, scores of these employees once again marched to the offices of Gauteng Premier, Panyaza Lesufi in Newtown, Johannesburg.
The protest, which was led by ActionSA’ s provincial office, called on Lesufi to employ these workers on a permanent basis as well as to increase their salaries.
ActionSA provincial campaign manager Phillip Dolo encouraged the workers to make their voices heard as they delivered yet another memorandum of demands to members of the premier’s team.
He said despite various commitments by Lesufi since march this year, nothing had come of promises to look into the challenges faced by workers.
“Despite multiple commitments by the department of Gauteng Health, to absorb these workers who survive on R3 500 per month stipend, it has fallen short on its promises and failed to permanently employ them. The workers are demanding to be employed and absorbed by the department as permanent employees who also receive benefits such as pension funds and UIF. The rising cost of living has made it near impossible for families to survive in the current arrangement, “ Dolo said.
Speaking to The Star, Madla Maseko, who has been working as a clerk at a Soweto clinic since 2014, said he can’t get by as a father of three on R 3 500.
“It is impossible to make a living and feed my family as a married man while earning so little money. My life is at a standstill as I am not entitled to any benefits even though I have been employed for more than 10 years. I can’t study or even get another job as I am disqualified from doing so by the fact that my name is registered as someone who is employed on the government system,” Maseko said.
Another employee, Zoleka Shai, from Kagiso said she and many other affected employees were being exploited by an uncaring government.
“We are being exploited. We have been given many promises and been sent from pillar to post by an uncaring government. We have tried to engage the unions, but they too have failed us. We want Lesufi to ensure that we are insourced as we are forced to work long hours and still get paid these peanuts we are getting,” she said.
The workers have given the premier seven days to respond to their demands before returning to his offices for yet another protest.
In March this year, some of these employees marched to the Gauteng department of health as well as the premier’s offices to highlight their plight.