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The National Union of Public Service and Allied Workers, NUPSAW, has expressed disappointment by the Limpopo’s Health Department decision to fire 21 emergency service workers. The department says the workers were fired after they were deregistered by the Health Professions Council of South Africa for failing to meet the required standards to remain active members of the council.
Union spokesperson Risimati Chabalala says the department should have looked at alternative ways to deal with the matter.
“We are shocked as well and disappointed, I learned of the media statement that was issued by the department this morning, so we are disappointed that they issued letters of dismissal rather than looking at other options”, says Chabalala.
The department employs just over 1400 emergency services workers. Apart from the 21 fired recently, 46 others are most likely to be fired by Friday. They have been given until then to prove their statuses with the Health Professions Council of South Africa.
Chabalala says emergency services workers were not given enough time to process the missing requirements from their profiles.
“I do not know of those who were told to upskill themselves what I know is those who were taken to do the ILS, the AA course in 2019, when the Health Professions Council of South Africa came they found something that did not meet the requirements”, Chabalala says.
Concerns over festive season capacity
As the festive season approaches, the department might struggle to respond to emergencies on the roads.
However, Deputy Director General of Corporate Services in the Health Department, Matome Mawasha, says the dismissal of the 21 emergency services workers won’t have major impact on festive season operations.
“21 spread across various stations it will be one in one stations and two in another so the impact will be minimal if anything at all perhaps not even because we have contingency plans we put together over the festive period we have doing that over the years and it has proven to work very well”, ensures Mawasha.
Meanwhile, 46 more emergency services workers have been given until Friday this week to prove their registration with the council or face dismissal. The department says it will continue to audit the membership of the health workers that require registration with various regulatory bodies. It also says that plans are afoot to recruit new workers.