Democratic Nursing Organisation of South Africa (DENOSA) won’t be surprised by The Times expose of staggering evidence of corruption in the Eastern Cape Health Department, which has come into the newspaper’s possession and which it will publish on Monday.
This is in the wake of countless protests from health workers in the province who have not been paid their allowances which date as far back as 2007 and 2008. What DENOSA finds unacceptable is that the department has been changing goal posts on the dates these payments have to be made to the employees on no less than three occasions already.
This is despite the provincial government having given the Department of Health the funds to address the accruals backlog to the tune of R191 million. This includes among others non-payment of pay progression, overtime allowances, night duty allowances, gratuities, rural allowances, housing allowances, stipends for students, and acting allowances.
“The department has proven its own incompetence by not paying these monies over to the workers. As a result, the management from within the department has seen plenty of opportunity to help themselves with these funds which were aimed for workers. The department’s excuse is this regard is that these accruals were never declared by the HR department, hence they were never paid. It is their department, and that just shows lack of competency, and we find it unacceptable,” says Koliswa Tota, Provincial Secretary of DENOSA in the Eastern Cape.
The head office within the provincial department informed DENOSA that it worked tirelessly only last week to look into this matter, which has been with them all these years. The question is what the department has been doing all these years.
While the dates for the payment of accruals have kept on shifting many times, the department has promised April 2013 as the ultimate deadline when it will effect these payments.
“As DENOSA, we have no confidence that the department will stick to its words this time around. They have shifted their dates countless times before. And now they are shifting to the new financial year. We don’t get any indication of what action is the department going to take about this regrettable inefficiency from within,” says Tota.
Failure to effect these payments has seriously compromised health service delivery in the province for many years, and has not done any justice to the reputation of nurses as they have been viewed as careless professionals by the public.
Once again, DENOSA would like to appeal for the urgent intervention of the national Department of Health as nurses have lost confidence in the ability of the provincial department.
It is our honest view that, if nothing is done about the current poor state of affairs, things will only worsen, and scandals such as the one The Times will publish on Monday will be a norm.