Strike threat over top jobs in hospitals

2010-03-31 00:00

KZN Health Department spokesman Chris Maxon has denied claims that there is corruption at Nkosi Albert Luthuli Hospital.

His denial comes after the National Education, Health and Allied Workers’ Union (Nehawu) threatened to go on strike if the allegations are not investigated.

Nehawu provincial secretary Zola Sephatha alleges that there is a high level of corruption at the hospital when it comes to the appointments of senior officials.

Sephatha said that posts have not been filled properly, adding that there are cases of people who have been appointed to positions without even having been interviewed.

He pointed to the human resources department of the hospital as the problem area.

If not resolved, Sephatha said, the matter could lead to more than 800 health workers, including nurses, doctors and support staff going on strike.

Nehawu recently handed over a memorandum to the CEO of the hospital, asking that these concerns be addressed.

Maxon reportedly said no evidence of corruption has been brought forward about the allegations.

He said corruption needs to be rooted out, but to do so facts are needed.

Saphetha told The Witness yesterday that in a meeting between hospital representatives and the union on Monday, evidence was tabled before the hospital representatives.

“If Maxon can deny this fact, then the department has a serious management problem, which can lead to people being misinformed.

“Acting HOD Dr Mhlongo was leading the delegation with two officials from the department’s labour relations unit. The ball is in their court,” said Saphetha.

He said the union will expose and fight corruption even if it means rendering the hospital ungovernable.

The Democratic Alliance has called on Health MEC Dr Sibongiseni Dlomo to urgently investigate grievances lodged by staff at the hospital to avoid any strike taking place.

DA health spokesman John Steenhuisen said that if the strike action goes ahead, not only will patients at Nkosi Albert Luthuli Hospital be affected, but there is a high risk that it could bring about industrial action at other hospitals, thereby exacerbating the existing backlogs within the province’s medical care profession.

“We call on the MEC to intervene and ensure that all staff appointments are made in line with prescribed procedures and to conduct a thorough investigation into all allegations of corruption that have been made,” said Steenhuisen.


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