Frustrated workers, initially brought in by the Gauteng Health Department during the peak of the COVID-19 pandemic in 2021, are expressing increasing difficulties as they continue to work without receiving their due payments. More than 1,000 doctors, nurses, and other healthcare workers in Gauteng hospitals have not been paid since April as reported by Eyewitness News.
The provincial Department of Health enlisted these individuals to assist hospitals during the height of the pandemic. Speaking anonymously to Eyewitness News, workers recounted the challenges of fulfilling their duties while facing financial strain caused by missed paychecks.
In March, the Gauteng government announced a budget of R600 million to retain many of the additional staff hired during the pandemic. However, their contracts expired at the end of that month. The Gauteng Department of Health attributed the payment delays to administrative issues and assured that the matter would be resolved within two weeks.
Motalatale Modiba, the spokesperson for the Health Department, acknowledged that the appointment process involved coordination between the health, e-government, and Treasury departments. He explained that each facility had to follow a specific recruitment and selection process, including accommodating junior doctors who were bursary holders and not previously integrated into the system.
Interestingly, some of the former COVID-19 staff members did receive their payments, leading healthcare workers interviewed by Eyewitness News to suspect negligence on the part of certain hospital staff.
Modiba assured that the salaries and any outstanding payments would be processed within the next two weeks. He expressed apologies for the inconvenience caused and stated that the matter is being handled by the HR units across different facilities, who are actively engaging with affected employees to keep them informed of the developments.
Photo by Cedric Fauntleroy