Gauteng Community Health Workers
Only 6338 out of 8760 Community Health Workers (CHWs) in Gauteng have signed up with the SmartPurse company to be paid their monthly R2500 stipend after the Gauteng Health Department transferred this function to the company in May this year.
This means that 2422 CHWs have not been paid for their work and many of those who did sign with SmartPurse have also not been paid on time because of the company’s inefficiency.
This information is revealed by Gauteng Health MEC Qedani Mahlangu in a written reply to my questions in the Gauteng Legislature.
Smart Purse Solutions Pty Ltd
According to Mahlangu, 2315 CHWs were paid late by SmartPurse for their May stipend, and 237 were paid late for their June stipend. She says that the late payments were because “some CHWs did not report for work. Their personal data was therefore verified late.”
To ensure that payments are made on time, she says that “banking details and work attendance are now validated at the facility level.”
Mahlangu also says that “there were delays in the selection process and signing of contracts due to protest action. The selection process for Tshwane has been concluded and an increased number of CHWs across the province are gradually signing.”
I am greatly concerned that 2422 CHWs have not been paid for four months because they have not signed a contract with SmartPurse, which was controversially awarded a R87 million contract for three years to pay the CHWs.
I have also received many complaints from CHWs about the poor administration of payments.
Blow to Primary Health Care
CHWs do valuable work that includes providing home-based care, delivering medicines to house-bound patients, and going door-to-door to assess the health status of households.
They deserve to be treated properly and paid on time, but SmartPurse does not appear to be doing a good job in this regard.
The loss of more than 2000 CHWs because they refuse to sign the contract with SmartPurse is a blow to the provision of primary health care, and their valid concerns should be addressed to retain their services.
DA Gauteng Shadow MEC for Health
082 333 4222