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14 July 2020

Hospersa, a Union with more than 60 000 members in the public and private health sector, is shocked by reports that the Free State (FS) Department of Health (DoH) has terminated the contract of close to one hundred Community Healthcare Workers (CHWs).  The FS DoH has cited that the affected workers have criminal records which Hospersa, representing the CHWs, has argued are for previous light offences emanating from community unrests and protests.  Hospersa has declared a dispute at Provincial Public Health and Social Development Bargaining Council (PHSDSBC) against the FS DoH and demands immediate reinstatement of all the affected CHWs.  The Union demands re-employment of these workers as well as better treatment of this profession especially now when the DoH needs all the hands it can get to combat the deadly Coronavirus pandemic.

According to reports, contracts of nearly one hundred CHWs in the FS province has been terminated by the provincial DoH.  The FS DoH has cited that the affected employees have criminal records which Hospersa disputes, saying that the criminal records are for light offences from community service delivery protests and that these workers were in-sourced from Non-Government Organisation instead of having applied for the jobs.  Hospersa has declared a dispute at the PHSDSBC against the FS DoH for unfair dismissal.  The Union also condemned this decision at a time when the DoH needs all the available resources to deal with the deadly Coronavirus pandemic.

“We condemn the FS DoH’s decision to termination of the Community Health Workers contracts,” said Hospersa FS Provincial Secretary, André Harmse.  “We hold strong views that this decision is unfair especially noting that it was taken without due consultation of labour organisations at the PHSDSBC.  Hospersa is appalled by the fact that the FS DoH is using criminal records from service delivery protests to deprive employment to CHWs who were in-sourced from NGOs as per the PHSDSBC Resolution 1 of 2018.  We has declared a dispute at the Provincial PHSDSBC against this unfair labour practice which is only been implemented in the FS Province whereas other provinces,” added Harmse.

“We have also received various reports of ill-treatment by the FS DoH against CHWs in the province,” said Harmse.  “Those whose employment contracts have been extended are forced to travel many kilometres to various FS DoH offices to sign their contracts instead of signing at their nearest provincial health facilities.  It is also reported that some of these workers have had to return some of their tools of trade including cellular phone devices donated to the provincial department as part of the fight against COVID-19,” added Harmse.

“Community Healthcare Workers play a crucial role in the delivery of health care services and are needed now, more than ever, as the country accelerates its fight against COVID-19.  Hospersa demands the re-employment of the dismissed CHWs in the FS DoH as well as better treatment of this profession,” concluded Harmse.


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 For more information and interviews please contact Hospersa FS Provincial Secretary 

André Harmse on 083-654-7361; and

Hospersa FS Provincial Chairperson

Peggy Motlokoa on 083-654-7361.

Hospersa – Worker Empowerment

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