DURBAN - HEALTH-CARE worker unions have expressed concern over the KwaZulu-Natal Department of Health placing a moratorium on the filling of posts.
The Democratic Nursing Organisation of South Africa (Denosa) issued a statement stating it was disappointed by the recently issued circular G01/2022, which put a moratorium on the filling of posts, including critical personnel like nurses.
It said the moratorium came at a time where there was a severe staff shortage.
Denosa added that it was concerned about how its members were going to cope without additional staff.
“The sad part is that patients and nurses are the ones that will suffer when service delivery is affected. As it is, nurses are demotivated, burnt out and some are sick because they are overstretched and haven’t received any salary increase since 2019. We are also worried that the crisis that is in hospitals and clinics will worsen if nothing is done to change the situation,” said the statement.
Denosa said it intended to take the matter to the bargaining chamber, and would also seek political intervention from Cosatu.
National Education Health & Allied Workers provincial secretary Ayanda Zulu said for some time the department had not been employing general workers and administrative clerks, which affected the day-to-day running of hospitals.
“There is a shortage of nurses and that has always had a significant impact in terms of the day-today running of hospitals. In most hospitals you’ll find that there are extremely long queues because one nurse does the work of three or four nurses.”
He said after some nurses retire they are not replaced and this has been happening for some time.
Responding to questions, the spokesperson for the KZN Department of Health, Ntokozo Maphisa, said it avoids engaging with employees through media platforms, as there were ample effective internal platforms for this purpose.
“The leadership of organised labour are aware that they have full and unfettered access to the MEC and HOD, at any given time, should there be any urgent matters.”
However, Maphisa explained that the cost-containment measures mentioned in the circular were among key measures that the department adopts when there is projected overspending.
“The department cannot continue with business as usual while there is projected overspending on its budget in the current financial year.”
He added that the austerity measures would not affect current employees as there is no possibility of job losses or infringement of employee benefits at this stage.
“By introducing these austerity measures, the department is merely halting the employment of new personnel in order to avoid projected overspending. The department will not use a blanket approach in this regard, but will be considerate of individual cases per institution when implementing these cost-cutting measures.”