ROW OVER cellphone calls

Frank Maponya

Frank Maponya

Disgruntled paramedics in Limpopo have threatened to stop using their cellphones for work purposes.

Emergency medical services paramedics have accused the provincial health and social development department of reneging on an agreement to refund paramedics for the use of their personal cellphones for emergency calls. The department has denied making such a deal.

The South African Emergency Personnel Union (Saepu) said the decision not to pay its members back was taken without consulting them.

"Our members have been using their cellphones for emergency calls. Now they are told they are not going to be paid back. This is not on," Saepu president Mpho Mpogeng said.

He said they met the department on July 7 and were told they did not have bargaining rights.

The union was launched in February and has more than 5000 members countrywide.

"The problem is that our members are just compromising without any gratitude because there has been no written agreement on whether we are going to be paid or not, " Mpogeng said.

Department spokesman Phuti Seloba said there had never been an agreement to reimburse paramedics for cellphone charges.

He said ambulances were equipped with communication systems.