The National Education, Health and Allied Workers’ Union [NEHAWU] in Limpopo condemns the brazen attack by the Limpopo Department of Health directed at unions and its members in the Province in their media statement released on the 10th July 2019.
As NEHAWU, we view this as a desperate attempt to conceal the department’s inability to properly manage the public health sector in the province and shield itself from accounting for its inefficiencies and incompetency. These desperate attacks resembles a department which is lurching from one crisis to another with no practical solutions to remedy the dire situation the department finds itself. NEHAWU has never been shouted down by any employer into silence and we are not about to start now.
We must emphasize that public health care system in Limpopo has collapsed and this is manifested primarily by the inability to meet the needs of health care users and secondarily by the low morale of health care workers. These are times which requires wisdom from those in authority not this “ostrich mentality” which buries its head in the sand and not resolve problems believing that when it takes its head out of the sand the problems would have been blown away by the wind. The department must wake up from its slumber land and face the reality of the crisis which primarily lies in leadership or lack of it thereof.
Through their act of desperation they lie and claim that there are 9 midwives in Ngwaabe clinic while in reality the clinic only has seven midwives. We also know that after the first incident, they dragged nurses to a community meeting for an engagement with the community. We ask ourselves a question, Shouldn’t communication head and management have represented the department in that community meeting? But of course they lack accountability and hence they dragged those nurses into that community meeting so as to use them as sacrificial lambs in their desperate bid to look good in front of that community
In their statement they deliberately forget to take South Africans in confidence that majority of clinics are not rendering 24 hour service hence the MEC is having a programme to launch 24 hour service in clinics. In a normal working health care system a need for a programme to launch 24 hour service in clinics would not exist. In their statement they deliberately forgot to indicate that the problems in Ngwaabe clinic have been there for more than 18 months and the district had been called to intervene but nothing had come out of that intervention.
The statement deliberately forgot to mention that the department has serious shortage of staff both nurses as well support staff like cleaners, administrators and generally health care professionals. In their act of desperation they claimed in their previous media statement that there is no shortage of medication but the MEC thereafter wakes up to visit the pharmacy depot and confirms a problem of supply.
We must further re-iterate that trade unions have never claimed that workers worked for them but we a legal entity registered with the department of labor and enjoy a recognition agreement through the Public Health and Social Development Sectoral Bargaining Chamber and we will continue to discharge of our responsibilities in the interest of the workers without fear or favour. Workers can’t continue to be used as sacrificial lambs while arrogant employer gets away scot free.
We furthermore sympathize with the mother who gave birth under those conditions and will allow proper facts to be established and respond appropriately at a later stage.
Issued by NEHAWU Limpopo Secretariat Office