Shutdown suspended

2018-10-31 06:01
Last week, patients visiting clinics around Kimberley, were met by locked gates after Community Healthcare Workers declared a shutdown until the Department of Health met their demands.Photo: Boipelo Mere

Last week, patients visiting clinics around Kimberley, were met by locked gates after Community Healthcare Workers declared a shutdown until the Department of Health met their demands.Photo: Boipelo Mere

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Protests by frustrated Community Healthcare Workers (CHCW) are currently suspended following a three-day shutdown of at least ten public clinics around Kimberley.

The Department of Health had to step in following concerns raised by the community at large and patients who arrived to locked gates from Wednesday (24/10) to Friday (26/10), while patients were sent home at some other facilities.

After a meeting between representatives of the CHCW and the MEC for Health, Fufe Makatong, it was decided that operations at healthcare facilities will not be affected while she will be allowed space to process concerns raised by labour unions.

This decision, according to Thapelo Thole, the provincial organiser of the South African Liberated Public Workers Union (Salipsu), was in the interest of the patients who were missing out on basic health services.

Fears were also based on threats that the shutdown, which was still affecting Kimberley only, stood the chance of spreading to other districts of the province.

The shutdown were reportedly triggered by fears and uncertainty, including what the CHCW regarded as arrogance from the Northern Cape Department of Health to address their long-standing demands.

They were further angered by the MEC who addressed them on Friday afternoon and did not give them an opportunity to engage on outstanding issues.

On the day, Makatong gave them feedback that they will receive an increase of R1 000, starting from November.

They wanted to know more about their back pays, bonuses and absorption processes into the Department of Health.

According to the spokesperson for the Ministry of Health, Lebogang Majaha, the protest came after Maka­tong concluded her province-wide roadshow to appraise CHCWs on a departmental process plan to implement the Public Health and Social Development Sectoral Bargaining Council Resolution 1 of 2018.

It is based on the agreement of the standardisation of remuneration for CHCWs in the Department of Health.

According to Thole the Department of Health promises to implement the absorption process from November when the members will be permanently absorbed into the department’s Persal System, instead of being paid by non-governmental organisations.

He said it was further agreed that the CHCWs will receive their bonuses as usual in December.

“However, there still remains the concern in terms of benefits for the members, as no mention has yet been made in that regard.

“But that will be a priority on the outstanding demands that we will further engage on with the department,” Thole concluded.

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