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Union demands 209 WC Health Covid-19 contract workers’ jobs be saved

Medical personnel want the Department of Health to cease its termination of employment contracts at Brackengate hospital. l ARMAND HOUGH/AFRICAN NEWS AGENCY (ANA)

Medical personnel want the Department of Health to cease its termination of employment contracts at Brackengate hospital. l ARMAND HOUGH/AFRICAN NEWS AGENCY (ANA)

Published May 27, 2023


Workers of the Western Cape Department of Health cornered the head of the department, Dr Nomafrench Mbombo, with demands as she was visiting Brackengate hospital, one of which is to save their jobs.

According to the National Public Service Workers Union (NPSWU), 209 employees, who were employed at the height of Covid-19 in June 2020 to take care of patients, stand to lose their jobs as they have not been prioritised in the department’s recent recruitment process.

Zolisa Menze, the Western Cape chairperson of NPSWU, said the posts of these employees whose contracts were coming to an end at the end of the month have been advertised externally.

Some of them were not even shortlisted for the interviews, which has caused them much frustration as some are breadwinners at home.

Addressing the MEC, they said staff members were going to lose their employment by the end of this month.

“Your department, under your leadership, has decided to replace them after risking their lives in Covid-19. This action is the worst we have ever witnessed in this world. Minister, let us clarify why we say these employees are being replaced.

“This department has decided to advertise their posts outside," said Menze.

He said the recruitment policy of the department stated that where there were enough skills among the internal employees, the posts would be advertised internally, and that they were disappointed by the decision to advertise these posts outside.

“We have already witnessed irregularities in the process that is being followed in the filling of these posts. Some staff members who never applied for the positions are being contacted to come for interviews.

“Others are not even working in the department. This shows clearly that the intention is to get rid of these staff members who are currently occupying these posts,” said Menze.

Among the NPSWU demands is the scrapping of the recruitment process that is aimed at replacing the staff members at Brackengate hospital and the immediate absorption of the employees in their current positions without advertising their posts.

Department of Health spokesperson Mark van der Heever said the MEC did receive a memorandum from the protesters detailing their demands.

“A response in this regard will be given to them in due course. As with any filling of a vacant post, the post criteria are advertised, and successful candidates will be contacted and invited for an interview as per the recruitment and selection process,” said Van der Heever.

He said these contract posts were attached to Covid-19 funding, which came to an end at the end of March.

“The department has been engaging the staff since October 2022 already. The recruitment and selection process is currently under way,” he said.