Aggrieved health care professionals delivered memorandum of grievances to Union Buildings

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By Dimakatso Modipa

Manager at the office of the president responsible for public liaison Philemon Mahlangu sign a memorandum. photo by Dimakatso Modipa
Manager at the office of the president responsible for public liaison Philemon Mahlangu sign a memorandum. photo by Dimakatso Modipa

Aggrieved employed and unemployed health workers delivered a memorandum of grievances at the Union Buildings on Monday morning.

This in protest against the government’s apparent failure to hire those who are jobless among them and increase salaries of those who are employed.

The march started at Church Square headed to Union Buildings, they were holding placards and carrying their Stethoscope on their necks.

In the process of the march, the health practitioners sang that the government is shameless in that it doesn’t care about the fact that they as qualified health professionals are unemployed and underpaid while the country is experiencing shortage of health professionals.

The marching health professionals included physiotherapists, dieticians, pharmacists, nurses and medical doctors.

One of the toyi-toying health workers’ spokespersons Dr Mandla Machabe expressed concern that like it was the case during COVID-19, the money that should be used to employ their jobless colleagues and increase salaries of those of them who are employed is being misused somewhere.

Mabisa Yokweni a registered dietician with nine years’ experience, told Tshwane Talks that she graduated in 2015 but couldn’t find a job in the government sector.

“I had to go into private practice not out of choice but out of circumstances,” she said.

“More than five hundred dieticians are unemployed in South Africa at the moment, and I think this is because the money that must be used to employ these professionals is being misused,” lamented Yokwe.

Koketso Mkhonto also a qualified dietician, told Tshwane Talks that she has been unemployed since 2022.

“It is unfortunate that we as health practitioners are unemployed,” she said.

“Yet our grandmothers are forced to wait for many hours while waiting to see one dietician at some small clinic while we can fill the gap of dieticians,” complained Mkhonto.

According to statistics which are in the public domain, there is one medical doctor for every one thousand patients in South Africa.

The health practitioners’ demands include the following:

1.There should be no national health budget cuts, but the budget should instead be increased to accommodate all unemployed health workers.

2. A database of all health workers completing their community service in any given year must be captured and all of them must be allocated placements before the end of each year.

3.All bursary holders and those health care professionals who have contracts should not be released from their contracts but be immediately reinstated.

4.Mobilisation of resources such as medicine and equipment to rural areas.

5. Promised annual salary increase going forward and retrospective payment of this increase for past years.

6. Hiring process should be transparent and be done with an independent hiring team.

The health practitioners gave the government seven days to respond to their demands.

Manager in the office of the president responsible for public liaison Philemon Mahlangu said it is within us, strive to make sure that their demand is not only meet but are responded too on the allocated period.

We promised they will get an acknowledgement letter from his office.

“We are receiving the memorandum on behalf of the minister; the memorandum will be forwarded to the ministry, and they are the one directly respond to the queries.

“We are looking forward to make sure the doctors are taking care of,” he said.

Prince Michael Machaka of Arise South Africa also expressed his support for unemployed health professionals.

“These health professionals have been sent to tertiary by their parents and upon qualifying it does not make sense that they can’t get jobs,” he said.

“We are here in solidarity with unemployment professional health workers across the country.

One of our founding principles as Rise Mzansi is solidarity and justice.

We stand in solidarity with the unemployed health workers,” Michael Shackleton of Rise Mzansi said.

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