Unpaid Gauteng doctors will receive salary payment 'by no later than Friday'

2019-01-31 10:57
(File, iStock)

(File, iStock)

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The South African Medical Association (SAMA) said it was "aware and concerned" about a communique circulating in some of the hospitals and provincial offices of the Department of Health regarding the non-payment of newly appointed doctors.

"SAMA took drastic steps to ensure that payment of remunerations is effected accordingly," the association said in a statement.

"As a result, the Director-General of Health has made an undertaking that all the doctors affected by the circular will receive their payment by no later than Friday, February 1.

"The action taken by SAMA to address this matter has been done so in the interest of not only SAMA members, but to all newly appointed doctors.

"SAMA further made contact with provincial heads of department to ascertain as to whether payment will indeed be effected and received an affirmation in that regard that payment will be made timeously."

SAMA said it endeavoured to address all the issues affecting the profession and encouraged members and all doctors to send any other queries to SAMA for further intervention.

'Logistical reasons'

This follows reports by EWN on Wednesday that several Gauteng medical interns and community service doctors had contacted the news service claiming that they had not been paid their January salaries on January 28.

EWN reported that it had seen WhatsApp messages, emails and memos informing the doctors – who are completing their community service year at various hospitals in the province – of the delay.

According to EWN, medical interns at the Charlotte Maxeke Johannesburg Academic Hospital said on Tuesday that they had been sent a WhatsApp message a day before payment, informing them that payment would not be effected owing to logistical reasons.

Doctors at Helen Joseph Hospital similarly received a memo informing them of the delay.

Earlier, ANA reported that payment could be delayed for up to a month.

According to the wire service, the DA cited a notice sent to new doctors at Charlotte Maxeke hospital that their January salaries would not be paid at month end "due to the late creation of posts at Central Office".

'Inefficiency of Gauteng health department'

The notice reportedly said the posts had only been created on 22 January.

"Unfortunately, it was not enough time for e-Government to process them before the salary run on 28 January 2019, therefore your salaries will be paid on/before 28 February 2019," it added.

DA spokesperson of the executive council for health in Gauteng Jack Bloom said he was "appalled" at the delay.

“It is totally unacceptable that they will have to wait a month to be paid”.

Bloom has called on the department to make plans to pay the officials as soon as possible, rather than give a poor excuse that violates labour law and will cause acute distress to doctors who have to pay their bills.

SAMA's Eddie Ngwenya was quoted by EWN as saying: "The national DG confirmed and liaised with the provincial departments of health and made that undertaking."

Ngwenya reportedly said should the department fail to keep its commitment, doctors would act.

Read more on:    da  |  johannesburg  |  health  |  service delivery
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