The National Education, Health and Allied Workers’ Union [NEHAWU] in Gauteng has learnt with great shock the decision by the Provincial Department of Health not to renew the contracts of 800 Medical Personnel who were brought in to respond to the COVID-19 pandemic.

The department indicates that due to budget constraints, it could no longer renew contracts of these workers, who have played an instrumental role in providing medical assistance during the pandemic. This cohort of workers provided the necessary relief on an already strained healthcare system in the province, which was on the verge of collapse at the height of the pandemic due to a plethora of issues amongst others the shortage of staff.

As NEHAWU, we find it astonishing that the department could take such a drastic decision of not renewing these contracts, and we refuse to allow a situation where the much-needed healthcare contract workers are lost to the healthcare system. We reiterate that the introduction of these workers into the health system has brought about a lot of relief to the overburden healthcare system that has a high vacancy rates in hospitals and clinics. Their absence will be felt largely by communities. Equally, this decision not to renew the contracts of these workers will surely reverse the strides that have been made in the fight against COVID-19 and also the improvement of public healthcare in the province. 

What we also find shocking with this decision by the Department, is that it occurs against the background of skyrocketing unemployment rate in the country, which stands at 34.9%. Surely, the department should have been alive to these facts before taking such a drastic decision of not renewing those contracts.

More shocking is the news that there is shortage of food for patients at the Chris Hani Baragwanath Academic Hospital and Charlotte Maxeke Johannesburg Academic Hospital for the past 3 weeks. We are of the view that these are related outcomes of austerity measures that characterise spending patterns of the 6th administration and the arrogance of this administration which is doggedly pursuing a neoliberal policy framework at the expense of the poor and the working class. 

Lastly, as NEHAWU, we call on the Provincial Administration to urgently intervene in order to avoid a situation whereby our health institutions are left with no personnel due to shortage of staff and we further call on the department to permanently employ those workers.


Issued by NEHAWU Gauteng Secretariat

For more information, please contact: Mzikayise Tshontshi (Gauteng Provincial Secretary) at 0636851938 or email: or Thulisile Msimang (Gauteng Provincial Deputy Secretary) at 0721748062 or email: