The contracts of community service pharmacists, intern-nurses and other professionals in the Limpopo Department of Health will not be renewed when they expire at the end of the month.

The department informed the workers in December that their 12-month contracts would not be renewed due to budgetary constraints.

Provincial Chairperson of the South African Association of Hospital and Institutional Pharmacists (SAAHIP), Nhlanhla Mafarafara says the department has failed to set aside a budget for its bursary holders.

“Somewhere, somehow the department may have not planned to absorb these people in advance. It comes on top of the fact that a few days before they were told they’re not going to be appointed, the President talked about the stimulus package, and then the Minister of Health distributed the number. Now it is no longer implemented, so the question is where is the money that was supposed to put in or implement the stimulus package?”

The MEC of Health, Phophi Ramathuba, says there are plans to engage with labour and National Treasury regarding the possible re-appointment of the affected workers.

“We are reassuring all those who are out there at home who are worried as to what will happen, that as a department we’ll continue to engage Labour. We’ll continue to engage Treasury, and we’ll find a permanent solution, because we want all of you to be appointed. It is not only them. We still have nursing assistants. We still have enrolled nurses who are out there and we also have pharmacy assistants – so that is our plea and request.”

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