Community healthcare workers demand full-time employment, better pay

2018-09-14 08:36
Community healthcare workers marched from Mount Road to the Port Elizabeth branch of the Eastern Cape Department of Health demanding full-time employment and a monthly salary. (Joseph Chirume, GroundUp)

Community healthcare workers marched from Mount Road to the Port Elizabeth branch of the Eastern Cape Department of Health demanding full-time employment and a monthly salary. (Joseph Chirume, GroundUp)

Multimedia   ·   User Galleries   ·   News in Pictures Send us your pictures  ·  Send us your stories

About 30 community healthcare workers marched to the Eastern Cape Department of Health on Thursday demanding full-time employment and a monthly salary of R12 500, GroundUp reports.

The protesters are members of the Young Nurses Indaba Trade Union (YNITU).

"These downtrodden community care workers are living from hand to mouth in abject poverty," said Akhona Zuka, regional chairperson of YNITU. "They do not even qualify for a housing subsidy. When they exit the healthcare system through retirement or death they leave empty-handed. They don't enjoy any benefits as their co-workers in the Department of Health do."

Zuka said community healthcare workers were underpaid and overworked.

Read: Health dept workers protest poor state of building, calls for Motsoaledi's intervention

"They currently earn a meagre stipend of R3 000 per month. We therefore demand R12 500 per month for them. They should also be absorbed into the [health] department with no strings attached."

Community healthcare workers are primarily responsible for home visits to make sure that vulnerable people are getting adequate care and do not fall through the cracks in the state's health system. The workers are currently paid stipends by the Department of Health (sometimes via NGOs).

Zoliswa Hina, 44, joined the community care work programme in 2006. She rents a room for R700 a month in Missionvale where she lives with her five children. She gets a stipend of R3 000 a month.

"We are working very hard under stressful conditions. We do all the dirty jobs in clinics, yet we are not being recognised," said Hina. "We demand immediate absorption into full-time jobs because we have been extending our contracts for many years."

Read more: Operations continue at Germiston mortuary after staff go on strike - health dept

Lwando Mange has worked at Jose Pearson TB Hospital in Bethelsdorp as a community care worker for the past 12 years. He commutes every day from Greenbushes where he lives with seven children.

"It is very stressful to know that we have to renew the contracts every year," said Mange. "We are not emotionally settled. We are only given breathing masks to wear in the wards. They don't give us uniforms or protective shoes. We are working in a hospital with [resistant strains of] tuberculosis."

The protestors submitted a memorandum listing 15 demands and asked for Eastern Cape Premier Phumulo Masualle to intervene and resolve their grievances within seven days.

Eastern Cape Department of Health spokesperson Lwandile Sicwetsha said: "The department will look into the demands on the petition and then respond to the employees."

Read more on:    port elizabeth  |  health  |  protest

Join the conversation! encourages commentary submitted via MyNews24. Contributions of 200 words or more will be considered for publication.

We reserve editorial discretion to decide what will be published.
Read our comments policy for guidelines on contributions.

Inside News24

Traffic Alerts
There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.


Create Profile

Creating your profile will enable you to submit photos and stories to get published on News24.

Please provide a username for your profile page:

This username must be unique, cannot be edited and will be used in the URL to your profile page across the entire network.


Location Settings

News24 allows you to edit the display of certain components based on a location. If you wish to personalise the page based on your preferences, please select a location for each component and click "Submit" in order for the changes to take affect.

Facebook Sign-In

Hi News addict,

Join the News24 Community to be involved in breaking the news.

Log in with Facebook to comment and personalise news, weather and listings.