KZN Health, IFP at odds over payment of contract workers, Newsline

Durban – The KwaZulu-Natal Department of Health has brushed off the Inkatha Freedom Party’s (IFP) accusation that it has failed to pay contract health-care workers for the past two months.

Department spokesperson Ntokozo Maphisa told African News Agency (ANA) on Wednesday that the department had no knowledge of any staff members who had not been paid.

“According to our knowledge, all contract workers who provided the necessary and relevant documentation to our HR unit have been paid. We further urge any staff who may have encountered any problems due to outstanding documentation to reach out to their managers, in line with the department’s protocols, so as to ensure that they are assisted speedily,” Maphisa said.

Since the start of the lockdown in March, the government has called for the employment of extra pairs of hands to deal with the coronavirus within its various divisions. This was also said to be part of the government’s efforts to reduce unemployment in the country.

Maphisa’s remarks came after IFP member of provincial legislature on health TJ Gumede accused the department on Wednesday of failing to pay the contract health-care workers.

“The IFP has reliably established that some of the health-care workers employed by this department in KwaZulu-Natal hospitals to assist with workload, especially during Covid-19, have not been paid their salaries for the past two months,” Gumede said in a statement on Wednesday.

Gumede said that the workers were employed on a six-month contract. They spoke out in anonymity due to fear of losing their jobs.

“This department should hang its head in shame for failing to remunerate these workers, who are in the forefront of fighting against the Covid-19 pandemic, putting their lives at risk daily,” said Gumede.

Gumede said that by failing to provide them with the proper personal protective equipment and not paying their salaries, the department had “rubbed salt in their wounds”.

She said the department must stop playing “hide-and-seek” with the workers.

“Many of them have been on several fruitless trips to Pietermaritzburg, as they were told that the head office is responsible for their salaries. This is totally unfair and borders on abuse of these health-care workers,” she said.

– African News Agency (ANA); Editing by Yaron Blecher