COSATU Eastern Cape support NEHAWU’s call for the immediate reinstatement of all medical personnel due for community service

COSATU in the Eastern Cape is surprised by the decision of the Provincial Department of Health in terminating contracts of Healthcare Professionals.

We, therefore, pledge our support to NEHAWU in calling for the immediate reinstatement of all medical personnel due for community service.

The department has unilaterally terminated contracts of 2748 Community Healthcare Workers, 631 Nurses and 91 Doctors that are supposed to complete their community service.  We share the same sentiments as NEHAWU, that this decision is ill-conceived.

The termination of these contracts contributes to the already high levels of job losses in the face of a dire shortage of medical practitioners across various health centres in the province. This decision plunges the department into a crisis.

What amazes is that in this group of terminated contracts there are employees that have just concluded Community Service that are due to be employed to complete the bursary conditions to serve the people of Eastern Cape for the same period they spent in studying. This constitutes failure to adhere to the bursary contracts on the part of the department and exposes the department to litigation. The immediate absorption of all outstanding clinical personnel in line with the directive of the Public Service Regulations. The Department of Health is reckless and irresponsible in its failure to employ or place more than 91 doctors and 631 nurses on community service.

The Department of Health’s inability to prevent escalating Medico Legal costs leading to budget constraints cannot be used as a justification for their decision as it clearly demonstrates the incompetence of Senior Managers in managing the finances of the department.

Our affiliate, NEHAWU will not rest until there is a commitment to deal with those Senior Managers that have been dragging their feet whilst the department continues to bleed financially. With other unions in the health sector, we support NEHAWU’s call for heads to roll and the National Department of Health to urgently intervene in preventing a catastrophic health crisis in the Eastern Cape.

We firmly stand with NEHAWU in calling on the Eastern Cape Department of Health to retain these workers in the health system as a matter of urgency. The department must come up with mechanism to address this situation, failure to do so, the federation will be left with no option but to use every means at its disposal to demand the reinstatement of these Healthcare Workers.

These Healthcare Workers have brought about a lot of relief to the overburdened healthcare system that has a high vacancy rate in various hospitals and clinics. Their absence will be felt largely by communities of the province. This decision to terminate their contracts surely will reverse the strides of improving our healthcare system and the fight against COVID-19.

Lastly, COSATU will not allow the healthcare system in Eastern Cape to collapse under its watch.

Issued by COSATU Eastern Cape


Mkhawuleli Maleki

COSATU Provincial Secretary

Mobile: 082 339 5482