ActionSA Gravely Concerned About Termination of 706 Nurses’ Contracts

ActionSA notes with deep concern the termination of 706 nurses’ contracts while 79 unemployed doctors remain stranded, awaiting placement in hospitals across Limpopo. This, in a province where 97% of the 5.7 million residents depend on public healthcare services.

Early this year Health MEC, Phophi Ramathuba, raised the hopes of many with an elaborate plan to transform the healthcare system, declaring 2023 “a year of primary healthcare”. This plan included 24-hour access to clinics that will see the employment of new permanent staff. It is grotesque to learn that the same MEC is terminating contracts while others hang in a balance, unsure of their fate.

The critical shortage of healthcare workers in our province is one of the major contributing factors to the underperformance of our healthcare system and our inability to provide quality healthcare to the poorest of the poor in this province.

It is becoming increasingly obvious that the Provincial Health Department is failing to effect its mandate. The reluctance of the ANC government to hold underperforming departments to account even though there is sufficient evidence of poor management and weak financial controls that are contributing to this crisis, is a clear sign that the ruling party will sacrifice the health and wellbeing of the people for its cadres.

The Health MEC, by her own admission, acknowledged that the political leadership of the day could do more to ensure the stability of our healthcare system. Although we share this sentiment, it is not enough just to say, “More can be done”.

As President Cyril Ramaphosa gears up to attend the presidential imbizo in the province this week, we challenge him to use this opportunity to provide real solutions and not play to the gallery. We call upon him to compel the Health MEC to reinstate the 706 nurses and finalise placement for the 79 unemployed doctors who are currently sitting at home.

The people of Limpopo deserve a government that is committed to providing quality healthcare for all and reducing the scourge of unemployment.