Trade unions on Wednesday came in support of Limpopo’s healthcare workers who will be marching to government offices to demand that the provincial MEC for health Phophi Ramathuba step down.
The National Education, Health and Allied Workers’ Union (Nehawu) said it would hold a “day of action” and march to the office of Premier Stan Mathabatha to urge him to fire Ramathuba.
Nehawu says Ramathuba has failed in her duties to resolve systemic challenges in the healthcare system. It also claims that there is an extreme shortage of staff in the department of health in the province and that health facilities are suffering from a continuous shortage of pharmaceutical supplies.
Among other demands Nehawu wants addressed are the withdrawal of circulars which grounded government vehicles and the appointment of community health workers as full-time employees of the department.
Gerald Mkhomazi Twala, Cosatu’s provincial secretary, said: “The federation will, therefore, be marching side by side with Nehawu as we demonstrate our displeasure against the provincial government for failing the workers on the matters mentioned.
“In the same breath, we wish to call for the provincial government to act swiftly and decisively to respond to the issues on the table. We are making a call to the premier take a lead in finding solutions.”
The South African Emergency Personnel’s Union (SAEPU) also said it supported Nehawu’s protest and its call for the removal of Ramathuba.
“We believe that health workers matters are ignored and the provincial healthcare system is collapsing while MEC Ramathuba is not assisting the process,” SAEPU said in a statement.
“The only thing she knows best is to go on media to insult health workers and unions. Health workers are understaffed; health workers are attacked at their workplaces.
“Unions must fight before health workers get their overtime payments, grade progression for all health workers is always questionable. The question is why [the] premier is still keeping Ramathuba as the MEC of health.”
Nehawu’s march will start at Polokwane Hospital Park and continue to the office of the premier and the provincial department of health offices.
Exactly a year ago, Nehawu held a similar day of action and delivered a memorandum of demands to these government departments raising more or less the same issues.
– African News Agency