1,000 signatures reached
To: Gauteng Department of Health
Make Gauteng Community Health Workers Permanent
Dear Dr Gwendoline Malegwale Ramokgopa, Gauteng Health MEC
More than 9000 Community Health Workers in Gauteng have been supplying community health services to poor, black communities for more than ten years. In this time, they have been treated as volunteers and their work has not been acknowledged. They have been poorly paid, with no benefits that show the valuable nature of the work that they perform for communities and for the Department. On the 18th of March this year, the Labour Court in Braamfontein, Johannesburg ended the practice of treating these Community Health Workers as volunteers, and confirmed their status as employees. This was an important step and a recognition of the valuable contribution that is made by Community Health Workers to the health system and the country.
Your actions and that of the Gauteng government now undermine this progressive step. Your government has unlawfully terminated the contracts of these Community Health Workers in an attempt to avoid the responsibilities that flow from the Labour Court case. You have illegally transferred the contracts of the Community Health Workers, thus unlawfully outsourcing them. In the interests of the health of poor communities, we demand that you reverse this illegal outsourcing act and recognise these Community Health Workers as permanent employees of the Department of Health and the valuable work that they perform.
Why is this important?
This issue is important because the health of poor communities, who have no options like private health care, depends on Community Health Workers. In a context of deteriorating health and other social outcomes, the outsourcing of these workers threatens to lead to a further deterioration in the health of township residents. The issue is also important because the Minister is avoiding her constitutional responsibility of providing decent, affordable health care, as well as her constitutional responsibility of fair labour practice.