Parliament, Thursday, 8 November 2018 – The Khayelitsha District Hospital’s (KDH’s) branch of the National Education, Health and Allied Workers' Union (Nehawu) today pleaded with the Select Committee on Petitions and Executive Undertakings for its urgent intervention in the crisis faced not only by staff of the hospital, but by the larger Khayelitsha community.
The meeting follows the Sigogo petition submitted by Nehawu and other whistle-blowers, which speaks to the alleged cover-up by the Public Service Commission (PSC) regarding reported irregularities, maladministration, nepotism, fraud, poor working conditions and victimisation of employees within the Khayelitsha District Hospital.
Nehawu shop stewards, who are also employees at the hospital, told the committee that the victimisation of staff is so severe that they often find staff crying in the corridors. This not only means that the affected staff members are unable to perform their duties, but shop stewards themselves are over-burdened with labour relations issues.
Three main issues were raised during the presentation to the committee. The non-existence of the Institutional Management Labour Committees (IMLC) meetings in which Nehawu was previously able to engage hospital management on a regular basis. This forum collapsed during 2017 and hospital management has since then been evasive in its efforts to meet with the union. While the PSC recommended a mediation process to be instituted to normalise relations between the parties, nothing has been instituted to date.
According to Nehawu, the freezing of posts and irregular appointments have been raised with management on numerous occasions. They highlighted a special case in which the hospital appointed a professional nurse who did not have the required certificates. Nehawu expressed its dissatisfaction with the PSC findings on freezing of posts, which maintains that the hospital is implementing government’s austerity measures. This they say, has implications not only on staff morale, but the services rendered to the community.
Employment equity is another major concern raised by both Nehawu and Ms Damaris Kiewiets, the Chairperson of the Cape Metropolitan Health Forum. Nehawu said that although KDH is situated in a black community, which should afford people in the community more opportunities, the hospital’s staff employment does not reflect this.
Officials from the Department of Labour said that investigations into both the hospital’s employment equity and health and safety standards are underway. They committed themselves to provide the committee with a feedback report on the findings.
The Chairperson of the committee, Mr Dumisani Ximbi, expressed his disappointment at the absence of the hospital management to whom an invitation to attend the meeting was extended. The committee was shocked to learn that hospital staff who wanted to attest to the allegations and provide the committee with views of their own struggles had been intimidated and refused leave to attend the meeting.
The committee will deliberate on the issues raised, taking into account all documents submitted by the various affected parties in order to address the crisis at KDH.
ISSUED BY THE PARLIAMENTARY COMMUNICATION SERVICES ON BEHALF OF THE CHAIRPERSON OF THE SELECT COMMITTEE ON PETITIONS AND EXECUTIVE UNDERTAKINGS, MR DUMISANI XIMBI.
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