Thanks Sowetan for telling it like it was. You restored our dignity

UNIONS representing striking doctors have thanked Sowetan for helping them push the government into proposing a better pay scheme and implementing the long-awaited occupation-specific dispensation.

UNIONS representing striking doctors have thanked Sowetan for helping them push the government into proposing a better pay scheme and implementing the long-awaited occupation-specific dispensation.

The South African Medical Association, which has been at the forefront of the negotiations, said yesterday that if the media had not put pressure on the government by reporting on the plight of doctors, the new offer might never have been forthcoming.

"We thank you [Sowetan] for informing the community and government on what we as doctors were going through in public hospitals. You told it like it was.

"Being doctors was no longer cool in South Africa because of the salaries we were earning," said Sama chairperson for public-sector doctors Mac Lukhele.

"Our dignity has been restored. As Sama we can only hope that all our members find the new offer reasonable."

Health Minister Aaron Motsoaledi also admitted that pressure from the media had forced the government to announce the revised offer before it was tabled in the bargaining chamber.

"We don't normally announce a package that is being negotiated in the bargaining council. We are forced to do this owing to events that have taken place during the past month, with a media frenzy and public debate about the payment of health professionals," he said in Pretoria yesterday.

The South African Registrars' Association, an affiliate of Sama, also sang Sowetan's praises.

"You have been with us from the beginning to the end and we would like to thank you for that. We'll report to our members what the government proposed and we will take it from there," said Sara president Lebogang Phahladira.

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