Health caregivers promised better treatment
THE Gauteng health department has admitted that it has not treated volunteer health workers properly.
"I accept we have failed you. We also take full responsibility for the expulsion of health workers in non-governmental organisations, and we promise to do what is right," department head Nomonde Xundu told protesting volunteer health workers staging a sit-in at the department's offices in Johannesburg last night.
Nomonde was addressing over 150 community health workers volunteering at various NGOs under the department of health at about 7pm.
Xundu promised them that their dismissals would be dealt with and their salaries paid.
The workers say the department owes them four months' salary. The HIV/Aids counsellors, home-based caregivers and directly observed treatment helpers are demanding that they be absorbed by the department so that they can get benefits.
The group arrived at 10am and packed the reception area. When they realised no one was taking any notice of them, they broke out in song and dance and vowed to continue "demonstrating our anger" until someone took note of their presence.
Xundu assured them that the department valued them. "No one should be expelled because of non-payment by the province and without us knowing," she said.
She explained that letters of reinstatement had not yet gone out to the relevant NGOs, which might have led to what she described as a misunderstanding.
A letter that Sowetan has seen, signed by the department's chief financial officer Abbey Marokoane, said in part, "The department is confirming that . payments will be made to the NGOs on 27 and 30 July 2012."