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Doctors up in arms over 'favouritism' for foreigners

By unknown | Oct 21, 2008 | COMMENTS [ 0 ]

Alfred Moselakgomo

Alfred Moselakgomo

Tension is brewing between South African and foreign doctors at Mpumalanga hospitals after the local medicos discovered that their foreign colleagues were getting better benefits.

The local doctors said they were worried about what they described as "igniting professional xenophobia" at provincial hospitals.

They claimed that foreign doctors received a R30000 resettlement allowance, a R26000 monthly salary, and a fully-paid housing subsidy, while local doctors earned only R12000 with no benefits.

"Additional benefits, including fully-furnished houses, are provided to foreign doctors," an angry doctor said.

Another local doctor said: "We are fed up with this professional xenophobia because our foreign counterparts are treated like royals and yet they cannot even communicate with local people due to language problems.

"The department also gives foreign doctors state cars and we don't get any," he said.

Doctors said this is what makes SA medical practitioners to constantly seek greener pastures elsewhere because of poor remuneration and a lack of meaningful incentives.

However, the provincial health department has justified the anomaly.

"These doctors, especially those from Iran and Tunisia, are here on a non-renewable three-year contract," said spokesman Mpho Gabashane.

"As part of this agreement, provinces are required to provide accommodation and any other amenities necessary to ensure their comfortable stay and productivity for the duration of their stay in the country."

The DA said the department, already short of funds to fill critical vacancies, was spending thousands of rands to house and satisfy the needs of foreign doctors, while locals were grossly neglected and moving out of the province.


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