The National Education, Health and Allied Workers' Union (Nehawu) has called for the sacking of Mpumalanga health and social services head Confidence Moloko.
The union is blaming Moloko for the ongoing doctor shortage crisis. Since 2006, the union has accused Moloko of sabotaging medical services in the province and appealed to Premier Thabang Makwetla to dismiss him.
Sowetan reported last week that a crisis was unfolding in Mpumalanga state hospitals as patients requiring urgent medical attention are left unattended because of a lack of doctors.
The department said in Standerton Hospital there were 17 doctors in December 31 last year. But to date, there are only four doctors left at the hospital.
It was announced that Mpumalanga has fewer than 700 medical doctors while at least 8000 are needed to deal with the 3,5million people in the province.
Nehawu provincial secretary December Manana said Makwetla refused to investigate the union's concerns. "Poor people looking for medical services now have to come face-to-face with Moloko's incapacity.
"We presented a petition to Premier Makwetla in 2006 citing numerous problem areas in the public healthcare sector resulting from Dr Moloko's perceived lack of leadership qualities and sense of duty and his apparent hostility towards workers," said Manana.
"Collectively, the various issues have led to a substantial decline in morale, in turn affecting service delivery standards."
Among other allegations, Nehawu accused Moloko of:
l Failure to fill vacant posts, irrespective of their importance;
l Overtime payment being made either late or not at all; and
l Newly graduated registered nurses not receiving the financial rewards appropriate to their status.
Manana said Makwetla noted Nehawu's allegations and acknowledged that some were legitimate and committed himself to conducting an investigation.
"The investigation was both cursory and inappropriate because only three days were allocated to the investigation, with us only being advised of it on the day it began.
"The individuals appointed to the investigation panel included provincial director-general for health and social services, and, therefore, it was neither independent nor impartial," Manana said.
Moloko told Sowetan that he has heard allegations that he was sabotaging medical services, but thought the blame inaccurate.
"All healthworkers are controlled at the local level, and it is their managers at local level who should ensure they are happy."