Gaut­eng health’s woes mount

The New Age (Gauteng) - - NEWS - LERATO DIALE ler­a­tod@the­

WHILE some Gaut­eng gov­ern­ment pathol­ogy staff has “sus­pended cer­tain op­er­a­tions”, the health depart­ment faces an­other cri­sis of a pos­si­ble down­ing of tools to­mor­row.

Unions rep­re­sent­ing health work­ers in­clud­ing Denosa, Ne­hawu, PSA, Hospersa and Nup­saw this week staged a sit-in at the provin­cial health depart­ment of­fices in Gaut­eng de­mand­ing pay bonuses dat­ing back two years ago.

How­ever, the cash strapped depart­ment has pleaded poverty say­ing it did not have the money to pay bonuses.

MEC Dr Gwen Ramok­gopa said the depart­ment would ap­proach the provin­cial ex­ec­u­tive coun­cil to ask for funds.

In the mean­time, thou­sands of work­ers in­clud­ing nurses and pathol­o­gists among oth­ers, have vowed to take to the streets to­mor­row.

Denosa Gaut­eng provin­cial chair­per­son Simphiwe Gada de­scribed the planned march as the warn­ing of an im­pend­ing shut­down.

“You can’t re­ally have a shut­down with­out fol­low­ing cer­tain pro­ce­dures so as to em­bark on a shut­down. We have de­cided on a march as a warn­ing to the depart­ment that in­deed a shut­down is com­ing,” Gada said.

This is not the first time unions have clashed with the depart­ment over the bonuses, hav­ing been at log­ger­heads with for­mer health MEC Qedani Mahlangu dur­ing her ten­ure.

The march comes as bod­ies con­tinue to pile up at the Ger­mis­ton gov­ern­ment mor­tu­ary af­ter pathol­o­gists af­fil­i­ated to the South African Lib­er­ated Pub­lic Sec­tor Work­ers Union downed tools last Wed­nes­day de­mand­ing that they be trained.

Some fam­i­lies ser­viced by the mor­tu­ary have voiced their frus­tra­tions over the sit­u­a­tion say­ing they had gone to the morgue sev­eral times with­out get­ting help.

How­ever, dur­ing an in­ter­view with ANN7 yes­ter­day, the work­ers de­nied they had em­barked on an un­pro­tected strike say­ing they “sus­pended” some ser­vices un­til their de­mands were met.

Salip­swu spokesper­son Vic­tor Chukudu said the sus­pen­sion of ser­vices was an at­tempt to get the health depart­ment to ful­fil prom­ises made to them at the bar­gain­ing coun­cil.

“What is hap­pen­ing here is that they are try­ing to con­ci­en­tise the depart­ment to im­ple­ment what was agreed upon in the bar­gain­ing coun­cil as one of the res­o­lu­tions,” Chukudu said.

He said work­ers had em­barked on the sus­pen­sion of dis­sec­tions as well as other pro­ce­dures. “What they need is for the depart­ment to im­ple­ment the train­ing they were promised,” he said.

Ac­cord­ing to re­ports, the Gaut­eng depart­ment of health said it had nearly reached the end of the ne­go­ti­a­tion process with the union.

Dr Medupe Modis­ane, Gaut­eng foren­sic pathol­ogy ser­vices act­ing chief ex­ec­u­tive said the pathol­o­gists were on strike but they did come to work. They per­formed most of their du­ties but re­fused to as­sist the pathol­o­gists with the ac­tual post-mortems. The only is­sue on the ta­ble re­lates to train­ing.

“Ob­vi­ously in the in­ter­est of ser­vice we are en­gag­ing with the work­ers, this is a re­sult of the strike that hap­pened last year. This is­sue of train­ing was one of the res­o­lu­tions that we needed to fi­nalise in terms of de­vel­op­ing a train­ing course for them,” he said.


SER­VICE SLOW­DOWN: Gaut­eng pathol­o­gist have sus­pended some ser­vices due to promised train­ing not be­ing pro­vided.

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