Nehawu hands over memorandum

2017-12-06 06:02
PHOTO: Makhosandile zuluNehawu members march to the premier's office where a memorandum was handed over.

PHOTO: Makhosandile zuluNehawu members march to the premier's office where a memorandum was handed over.

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THE National Education Health and Allied Workers’ Union (Nehawu) staged its Day of Action in a march directed at the KZN Premier and Provincial Treasury last Thursday.

Nehawu members gathered at Dales Park before marching to the premier’s office at 244 Langalibalele Street where a memorandum of demands was handed over to the Premier’s representatives. Nehawu’s provincial secretary Phakama Ndunakazi said the union believes “the Department of Health has collapsed” and that there are issues within the forensic sector and those affecting drivers at emergency medical rescue services. He said there are nurses who have not been paid their occupational specific dispensation for years.

Ndunakazi said another problem in the department is administrative and costs it millions. He said the union believes the office of the MEC for Health is not assisting with addressing issues raised by Nehawu.

“Some of the issues date back to 2010. We have been raising these issues, including oncologists, shortage of staff and we think this is beyond the administrative office, so the political head needs to act on those issues.”

He said trade unions have lost faith in the current leadership, adding that unions have met with provincial planning commissioner, Professor Ronald Green-Thompson to discuss issues they have.

Green-Thompson was recently assigned by KZN Premier to turn around the situation in the Department of Health. “The first issue we have raised was that one, what are the terms of reference for your [Thompson’s] stay in KwaZulu-Natal as you say you are going to rebuild the department?” Ndunakazi said. He said other issues raised by the union are that the department has financial challenges as it does not have funds and that Treasury should intervene to assist. “If you want to fill a position in the department you must go to the Office of the Premier and to Treasury.”

Another issue, he said, is that senior posts in the Department of Health are not occupied on a permanent basis as a number of individuals are acting in them. “That makes the department unstable because everybody is ‘acting’,” he said. Ndunakazi said other issues are around tendering within the department with the problem that no permanent supply chain manager has been appointed. “Today is a warning shot, we will be coming back to raise these issues and that might turn out to be a strike if need be.” He said issues outlined in the memorandum not only affect the Department of Health, but also the entire province. “Issues of maladministration, corruption; we want to stop privatisation within KwaZulu-Natal,” he said. Ndunakazi said it is worrying that the latest provincial standing committee on public accounts report revealed that almost R1 billion was spent irregularly.


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