JOINT statement by Limpopo health sector unions on the outcomes of consultation with Limpopo Department of Health about consultation about CIRCULAR 43 of 2021 and Programme of Action

The Unions that are organizing in the Department of Health, namely: DENOSA, NEHAWU, HOSPERSA, PSA, SAMATU, SAEPU and NPSWU met with the Employer to consult on the issues of concern regarding Circulars 43 of 2020 and 04 of 2021.

1.    The parties met on the 05th of March 2021 and the meeting was facilitated by the MEC for Health, Dr. Phophi Ramathuba. Parties resolved that Circulars 43 of 2020 and 04 of 2021 be suspended for a period of two weeks for the consultation process to unfold. One of the conditions was that the parties must form a task team to investigate the information that gave rise to the circulars and the concerns raised by workers thereto

2.    Organized Labour took an initiative to invite the employer to submit names of individuals who would form part of the task team, but such gesture was arrogantly turned down by the Head of the Department (HOD), Dr Mhlongo FT

3.    The above notwithstanding, on the 16th of March 2021, Organized Labour consolidated and submitted inputs to the employer for consideration.

4.    The parties then met on the 17th – 18th March 2021 to engage on the inputs. The issues that were successfully narrowed down include the following:

4.1.            The implementation of the Circular 43 of 2020 and Circular 04 of 2021 

                  should not be viewed as a “one size fits all” approach but as a  


4.2.            Employees whose contracts of employment required them to work from  

                  Monday to Friday were not to be permitted and/ or to be rostered as shift

                  workers and to work on public holidays and sundays.   

4.3.           Parties further agreed that the designing of duty rosters shall be the full    

                  responsibility of line managers in consultation with the employees at their 

                  respective areas of work/facilities.

5.    Parties agreed on further consultation on outstanding issues which includes the following:

  5.1.   Discussion on why the Department of Health is practicing the provisions of 

            Section 11 of the Basic Conditions of Employment Act in piecemeal which  

            excludes meal intervals. 

5.2.       Development of Overtime Policy for purposes of uniformity and consistency. 

6.    However, Organized Labour noticed with utmost disgust to learn that the HOD lied to both the MEC for Health and workers when she said the shift rosters will be drafted by managers at the facility levels in consultation with their fellow subordinates for purposes of accommodating the needs of both the community and family responsibilities of workers. 

7.    The HOD undertook to further communicate with all line managers not to implement a centralized shift roster because she will not know the needs and expectations of each facility but to use it as a guideline or framework for the facilities to draft their own Shift Rosters in consultation with their subordinates.    

8.    We learned that there was a meeting on the 21st March 2021 at Protea Hotel – The Ranch, organized by the one Dr. Dombo which had all the handbook of a dictator that anticipated failure of attendance. Managers were threatened with disciplinary action if they drafted their own shift rosters instead of the centralized ones. This monopoly of knowledge is foreign to a democratic society. Why were shift rosters to be implemented within twelve hours of generation if the intention were to afford managers and workers to draft shift rosters that suits their area of service!  This is a clear indication that the current administration is deceitful.

9.    Further be advised that we never agreed to any form of a shift roster because we were informed that such cannot be drafted from a central point of the Head Office of the Department of Health.

10. Organized Labour met on the 23rd of March 2021 to reflect on Departmental Circular 17 and 18 of 2021 which issued on the 19th of March 2021 to replace Circular 43 of 2020 and Circular 04 of 2021.

11. We leant with dismay that some of our critical resolutions from the consultative meetings were deliberately omitted from the two Circulars which includes the resolution on designing of duty roster by Line Managers. The resolution was deliberately and incorrectly captured in pursuant of the employer’s underlying agenda as evidenced by the meeting held on the 21 March 2021 at The Ranch Hotel.

12.  In our meeting held on the 21st March 2021, Organized labour resolved on a Program of Action which include the following:

12.1.  Boycotting of all meetings with the executive managers starting with the   

          Budget meeting which was planned for 23 March 2021.

12.2.     All Doctors not to sign Commuted Overtime contract.

12.3.    All employees not to accept any instruction to come to work when off duty to avoid accusations of looting from the departmental budget as outlined by the HOD during her media conference. The Department does not own the lives of our members when off duty.

12.4.    All employees not to respond to any emergency when on lunch. Their lunch is unpaid, and the Department does not care about such emergencies. Members must let the Department deal with the community representatives if there are any queries caused by the circulars.  

12.5.    All employees must implement ˈWork to Rule ʽ by performing only duties attached to their Job descriptions and their daily allocation or delegation.e.g Nurses should stop performing non-nursing duties.

12.6.    Picketing at the Department of Health will begin on the 31st of March 2021 to demand removal of HOD – Dr Mhlongo TF, DDG for Health Care Services – Dr Dombo M. and other DDG’s not yet mentioned for aiding and abetting the negation of democratic processes at the workplace.

12.7.    Organised labour further resolved on organizing a March to Department of Health and Premier’s Office to demand the removal of HOD – Dr Mhlongo TF and DDG for Health Care Services – Dr Dombo M.

13. All the trade unions organizing in the Department of Health: Limpopo reserves our rights on matters raised above. 

Enquiries should be directed to the representatives below: 

DENOSA Provincial Secretary, Jacob Molepo – 072 576 4979

NEHAWU Provincial Secretary, Jacob Adams –082 558 5966

SAMATU Provincial Coordinator, Dr Elliot Motloung – 083 600 8486

SAEPU Kgaladi Makuwa, 076 478 1064

PSA Provincial Manager, John Teffo – 079 513 9856

HOSPERSA Provincial Chairperson, Bongani Ngwenya – 079 671 3103

NPSWU Provincial Secretary, Risimati Chabalala – 066 304 4878