Pharmacist assistants want jobs

Department can’t offer more posts

- By Andisa Bonani

Scores of contracted Eastern Cape pharmacist assistants picketed outside the health department headquarte­rs in Bhisho yesterday to raise issues after being promised employment.

The pharmacist­s, some of whom have been on contract for more than a decade, allege that nepotism and favouritis­m has led to the absorption of unqualifie­d people over those trained by the department.

The frustrated workers from different districts submitted a memorandum of demands (MOD) and gave the department 30 days to come up with practical solutions to their problems.

A pharmacist assistant who works in Ggeberha, Letta Wasa-Nyawade, said the submission of an MOD was their last attempt in resolving issues related to their employment.

“I have been working for the department for eight years as a pharmacist assistant and yet so many people, some of whom did not do training, got permanent employment before me and others,” she said.

“In some of the Gqeberha hospitals, people who were general workers are prioritise­d for permanent pharmacist assistant jobs, which isnt only unfair to us, but to the’ sickly citizens who are at risk of getting the wrong medication from unqualifie­d people.”

The assistants said that due to the increase in prescripti­on drug use, the ageing population and other health needs in SA, there were not enough pharmacist­s employed to fill the demand. “Prescripti­on medicine and healthcare products must be prepared and dispensed with extreme accuracy and efficiency.”

Health department spokespers­on Yonela Dekeda did not respond to a request for comment. A leaked response to the workers’ demands by the department’s pharmaceut­ical services head Ayanda Soka states that all trainees who graduated in November 2021 and October 2022 were awaiting job opportunit­ies but due to challenges experience­d by the department and the absence of vacant and funded posts, offering them jobs was difficult.

‘‘ Sick at risk of getting wrong medication

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