‘Despicable’ partnerships rile Nehawu

2010-02-18 08:54

NATIONAL Education, Health and Allied Workers Union (Nehawu)

expressed shock yesterday at the announcement of a partnership between the

public and private sectors to help improve the health system.

“The union is deeply worried at the fervour with which government

is pursuing and committing itself to the use of public-private partnerships in

the health sector, which we are totally opposed to,” Nehawu said in a


Finance Minister Pravin Gordhan announced in his budget speech that

the government would be engaging in public-private partnerships in the health

sector, beginning with a flagship project at Chris Hani Baragwanath hospital in


The minister said a feasibility study of the project was


“The union is too shocked to hear about this clandestine flagship

project as we were never informed about it as stakeholders.”

Nehawu called such partnerships “despicable profiteering” and said

it had its own plan for improving public hospitals.

“Nehawu has undertaken a widely supported and credible study on the

transformation of the Chris Hani Baragwanath Hospital, on the basis of which we

made some important policy proposals for the transformation of our hospital


“Yet, the project has since been stalled in favour of the

introduction of [public-private partnerships].”

The union accused Gordhan of sending “mixed messages” by

implementing partnerships while also promising a National Health Insurance plan.

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