South Africa News

Protesting Nehawu members hand over demands to Mabuza at Aids Day event

Community healthcare workers protested at the World Aids Day commemoration event on Tuesday in Soweto, where Deputy President David Mabuza was expected to deliver the keynote address.

The community healthcare workers held up placards expressing their dissatisfaction with the R3500 that they are being paid.

Mabuza met with the protesters and asked that they write down their complaints and hand them over to him personally.

One of the protesters, Innocent Vilakazi, told Mabuza that the picketing lot were from the Johannesburg branch of National Education, Health and Allied Workers’ Union (Nehawu) office.

The union has been leading a national strike of the community healthcare workers since 11 November after the Department of Health refused to permanently employ these workers.

READ MORE: Nehawu to embark on nationwide strike on Thursday
Speaking to The Citizen’s photographer, Tracy Lee Stark, Vilakazi said he was employed under the Extended Public Works Programme (EPWP) as a frontline worker at a public clinic.

Vilakazi said the work he and his colleagues did was essential and included the cleaning of public health facilities and that their duties were what made “the department of health to be stronger”.

Vilakazi said the amount that they were paid was not sufficient for supporting their families and that they did the same job as the department’s employees but were paid less.

“We are asking the minister of health just to give us that absorption from them and say, yes, we can even see your job, how you are working,” Vilakazi said, explaining that the protesting community healthcare workers are demanding that the department of health employs them permanently.

Vilakazi questioned how much was spent for the World Aids Day commemorations in Soweto when they were not being paid enough.

Vilakazi also alleged that when it came to the appointment of permanent workers at the department, they were overlooked for relatives of department officials.

-The Citizen

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