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Unemployed KZN doctors hold night vigil to highlight their plight

Unemployed doctors camped outside the KwaZulu-Natal health department office in Pietermaritzburg on Tuesday.
Unemployed doctors camped outside the KwaZulu-Natal health department office in Pietermaritzburg on Tuesday.
Image: Supplied

Unemployed KwaZulu-Natal doctors spent the night outside the provincial health department offices in Pietermaritzburg on Tuesday.

Dr Thuba Nkabinde, who was among the medics who staged the sit-in on Tuesday, said police were called to remove them.

The sit-in follows the February 12 peaceful picket where doctors marched through the Pietermaritzburg inner city.

During that picket, deputy health minister Sibongiseni Dhlomo accepted a memorandum of grievances addressed to health minister Joe Phaahla who said posts would be released in April.

“We are not budging and we will not leave these buildings until we are issued with appointment letters,” said Nkabinde.

The doctors condemned the stance taken by the health department.

The sit-in was also a last resort to get the attention of the head of department Sandile Tshabalala who had not responded to their grievances.

The doctors said they were disappointed the department had barred them from entering the premises. It took intensive negotiations with the police to allow them to camp outside the building.

One of the doctors who took part in a vigil outside the KwaZulu-Natal health department headquarters in Pietermaritzburg
One of the doctors who took part in a vigil outside the KwaZulu-Natal health department headquarters in Pietermaritzburg
Image: Supplied

“The state of affairs is saddening. What is most ironic is that the ANC government over the past few months has been making promises to better our lives, healthcare system and strengthen democracy,” said Nkabinde.

A young doctor, Refikoe Moekoena, who graduated from the University of Free State, said while some provinces had released some positions, KwaZulu-Natal was still behind.

“Some of us have applied but we are not getting responses. The point is KZN has not released a number of posts,” said Moekoena.

They denied they had refused to be deployed to rural hospitals.

“They are no vacancies, that's the truth,” she said.

KZN health MEC Nomagugu Simelane is expected to hold a briefing on Wednesday to discuss their concerns and the department's position.

TimesLIVE


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