'show us the money, manto'

Nkosana Lekotjolo

Nkosana Lekotjolo

Two major trade unions, the National Education, Health and Allied Workers Union (Nehawu) and the SA Democratic Nurses Union (Sadnu), have urged Health Minister Manto Tshabalala-Msimang to take action against senior executives at state hospitals and clinics for failing to implement a R1,4 billion salary adjustment for nurses.

Sadnu yesterday called on Tshabalala-Msimang to sack all provincial human resource managers and chief executives.

Sadnu national organiser Mohau Bodibe said his union would take the matter to the labour court to push for the executives' dismissals.

Meanwhile, Tshabalala-Msimang has admitted that there were mistakes in the implementation of the Occupational Specific Dispensation (OSD) for nurses. The OSD is a national government initiative earmarked to give nurses special increases on their salaries.

Last year, Tshabalala-Msimang promised nurses that R1,45 billion would be made available from September (2007) for the salary adjustments.

The deadline for implementation was set for March 31 this year, but unions say the deadline has since passed.

Also, in a letter addressed to health MECs and other government departments last month, Tshabalala-Msimang conceded there were "irreversible problems with regard to the OSD".

The letter said: "Following the review of the progress with the implementation of the OSD for nurses after various visits to provinces, it has come to the attention of the department that there could be certain aspects of the Public Health and Social Development Sectoral Public Council resolution of 2007 and the minister of public service and administration's determination ... that were not implemented consistently across provinces."

Sadnu also accused the minister of failing to inform the unions about the problems in the OSD and of instead going to the "same managers who are failing to implement the programme".

Nehawu said there was a lot of misunderstanding in the in the implementation of the OSD by health managers.

"The provinces have overspent and there is no longer a budget to implement the OSD," said Stuart Marshall, Nehawu's head of organising and servicing.