Helen Joseph residence staff have nowhere to go

2016-10-06 07:18
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Johannesburg – Some staff at Helen Joseph hospital, in Johannesburg, claim management has unconstitutionally kicked them out of their living quarters, a place they have called home for years.

A woman, who works at the hospital as a cleaner, said she would be stranded if she was evicted.

“I don’t have any other family here in Gauteng and the little money that I earn goes to helping my family, which is why I can’t afford to look for my own house,” she told News24 on condition of anonymity.

She has worked at the hospital since 1987 and moved into the living quarters in 2003.

She said those who decided to evict residents of the Suzan Hof residence, had not considered the feelings of its residents.

A nurse told News24 that she was originally from Tembisa, on the East Rand. The only reason she agreed to take the job at Helen Joseph was because accommodation would be provided.

She began working at the hospital in 2009 and moved to the living quarters in 2011.

“They promise people accommodation and then they kick people out.”


According to the Gauteng health department, it was decided during the 2014/2015 financial year to refurbish the Suzan Hof building due to its poor state.

A meeting was subsequently held in April with the National Education, Health and Allied Workers' Union (Nehawu), Democratic Nursing Organisation of South Africa (Denosa), Health and Other Services Personnel Trade Union of South Africa (Hospersa), and the Public Servants Association of South Africa (PSA).

It was agreed that residents would get three months’ notice to move out, by June 30. That date was later extended to September 30.

In a notice addressed to Suzan Hof residents at the time, hospital CEO Dr Raymond Bila said: “Hospital management would like to urge all tenants to start looking for alternative accommodation immediately to avoid disappointments”.

On September 1, the Suzan Hof residents’ committee made a written plea for alternative accommodation to be found for them, saying they had been unable to do so themselves.

“We feel our CEO has acted inappropriately in this manner that he chooses to evict us, even when he is not providing us with an alternative place,” they said.

Legal proceedings

On September 13, the hospital notified Suzan Hof residents that the building would be closed on September 30 to prepare for a “major revamp” and asked them to move out.

It highlighted that they had been given sufficient time to find alternative accommodation.

If they failed to move out, the hospital would institute legal proceedings and the residents would be held liable for any legal costs incurred.

The department told News24 it was only responsible for the housing of nursing students, community service doctors, medical interns, and maintenance employees on standby.

Once the refurbishments were completed, only the above-mentioned employees would qualify to live there, until they had completed their studies.

Read more on:    johannesburg  |  health

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