Unhappy doctors walk out of Sama

Kingdom Mabuza and Zinhle Mapumulo

Kingdom Mabuza and Zinhle Mapumulo

Disgruntled state doctors have ditched their union, the SA Medical Association, which they accuse of "selling out".

The doctors, who have formed the United Doctors' Forum (UDF), say Sama, which represents both private and public doctors, does not serve their interests.

"Sama has gone to bed with the government, and they do things behind the doctors' backs," said UDF spokesperson Dr Rapitse Malatji.

He said Sama had been ignoring the plight of state doctors to the benefit of private doctors, who were largely white.

"Private doctors, who are members of Sama, earned R600 an hour when we were on strike.

"Over 50percent of the government's budget goes to private doctors who own pharmaceutical firms and are pathologists."

Malatji said they had been complaining about their conditions since the Nelson Mandela era.

"Sama had been selling us out to government. When we wanted Sama to organise a national protest they developed cold feet," he said.

He said the doctors would not recognise the outcome of the bargaining process should a decision result in an increase of less than 50 percent.

But the Public Health and Social Development Sectorial Bargaining Council has lambasted the forum for "misleading its members and the public" about the current Occupation Specific Dispensation negotiations.