by Jack Bloom MPL – DA Gauteng Shadow Health MEC
Unpaid Community Health Workers (CHWs) are protesting their late pay and termination of contracts, including some who occupied Gauteng Health MEC Gwen Ramokgopa’s office yesterday.
According to a Facebook post by the Gauteng Community Health Care Forum, they are occupying MEC Ramokgopa’s office “to address the outstanding salaries and the demand of permanent employment”.
They spent the night in her office and police have been called in to evict them.
I have been inundated by complaints from CHWs who have received the following message from SmartPurse, which the Gauteng Health Department has contracted to pay them:
“Dear CHW. Due to technical delays, you will receive your stipend by Monday the 5th March 2018. We apologise for any inconvenience caused.”
It is appalling that about 8000 CHWs were not paid their R2500 stipend in February, causing much misery to them and their families.
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.
Their employment status needs to be clarified in a fair way as soon as possible, otherwise many elderly and house-bound patients will suffer.