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DESPITE assurances of major cutbacks by the KwaZulu-Natal department of health, opposition parties have accused it of bypassing a moratorium by recruiting non-critical staff using employment agencies.
The moratorium, which was announced in August last year, bars the appointment of employees other than doctors and nurses in order to contain costs.
The IFP claims the department had been hiring non-critical staff despite the moratorium, at the expense of appointing critical staff, including nurses and doctors.
Roman Liptak of the IFP said 112 employees had been recruited through agencies since the freeze on the filling of non-critical vacancies .
He said most of these post-moratorium recruits were secretaries, personal assistants, data capturers and general assistants, and that a significant proportion of these were based at the department's head office.
"It appears that the department has been employing staff through employment agencies since at least 2003," Liptak said.
He added that some of these jobs had been filled on a month-to-month basis, while others were on fixed-term contracts.
DA provincial leader George Mari said: "The problem had been identified that there was a shortage of nurses and doctors in the hospitals.
"It does not make sense to concentrate on recruiting administration staff while there is a huge outcry in hospitals," he said.
Mari said this showed that the department had no capacity as it opted to employ people through recruitment agencies.
The department's head, Sibongile Zungu, was unavailable for comment.