NEHAWU statement on the meeting between the Minister of Health and the national union
26 April 2018
A delegation of the National Education, Health and Allied Workers’ Union [NEHAWU] led by the General Secretary and the Deputy General Secretary met the Minister of Health, Dr Aaron Motsoaledi, and the management of the North West Department of Health in a quest to resolve the current impasse in the province. The meeting was at the request of the Minister.
The meeting noted that last night [Wednesday April 25, 2018] cabinet put the department under administration of national government and appointed a 11 member interministerial team to try resolve the problems currently engulfing the department. As the national union, we welcome this gesture by government and hope it will reverse most of the anomalies that has characterised the department in recent times. We commit to work with the team in trying to resolve the impasse but we will not abandon our mass action until our demands are met.
The meeting unanimously agreed that the current impasse is because of financial mismanagement by the department including corruption linked to outsourcing, procurement, servicing of medical equipment and human resources. The lack of good governance and proper use of finances has led to the near collapse of the public healthcare sector in the department. Patients have been on the receiving end of inadequate and sometimes non-existent healthcare services. Even before the strike action the province was dealing with shortages of medication, meals, beds etc. The strike action came as a result of anger from our members who have not received their bonuses because the department prefers to prioritise the invoices of service providers who in most cases inflates prices. We continue to hold a strong view that a forensic investigation on all the tenders awarded by the department including both Mediosa and Buthelezi EMS.
A list of demands was handed over to the minister to study with a view of making substantial interventions. A follow-up meeting will be reconvened in due course with the aim to find a lasting solution to the issues pertinent to workers in the Department of Health. We also hope that the interministerial team will help resolve the crisis engulfing the provincial administration as a whole because the issues of corruption and maladministration are not only limited to the Department of Health.
The national union has an open door policy and will always avail itself for engagements of trying to end the impasse. As part of the efforts of finding a lasting solution, we will also be engaging with civil society organisation in the Province.
Our National Executive Committee meeting resolved to convene a National Day of Action on the 16th May 2018 against the North West Department of Health. Failure to resolve the impasse between now and the 16th May will leave us with no option but to start mobilising towards that Day of Action.
Issued by Khaya Xaba, Media Liaison Officer, NEHAWU, 26 April 2018