The Eastern Cape health department's failure to pay 7000 health workers was a "brutal attack" on their dignity, the SA Communist Party in the province said on Wednesday.
"We believe that this unfortunate act is no different to slavery wherein people work without any payment," said spokesman Siyabonga Mdodi in a statement.
"This is a direct brutal attack to the dignity of these professional workers and their families and harbours a serious threat to the health of the Eastern Cape workers and the poor."
He called on the department to take decisive action against those responsible.
"We recommit ourselves as the SACP to continue fighting shoulder to shoulder with the workers of this world, organised and unorganised workers."
Eastern Cape health spokesman Sizwe Kupelo said health MEC Sicelo Gqobana resolved on Wednesday to take action against the officials responsible for the salary delays.
"The MEC apologises to those who were not paid, especially those who had their vehicles repossessed as a result."
He said "almost all" of the affected workers would receive their salaries on Thursday and the department was working overtime to ensure all were paid soon.
Kupelo said some nurses were not paid since December, but for most of the other staff the problems dated back to March or April.
On Tuesday he said the problem was related to a system change, which involved putting in place measures to centralise payments to root out fraud and so-called "ghost" employees.