TAC Newsletter, 12 June 2007.
The Treatment Action Campaign (TAC) says it is appalled by the dismissal of public sector workers, especially nurses and appeals to authorities to reverse the decision.
In a letter addressed to the Public Service and Administration Minister Geraldine Fraser-Moleketi, Health Minister Manto Tshabalala-Msimang, and Western Cape MEC for Health Pierre Uys, the organisation argues that the dismissals are unlawful.
TAC’s appeal comes after the immediate dismissal of 75 health workers at the Khayelitsha day hospital in the Western Cape, for taking part in the ongoing public sector strike.
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Letter by Achmat and Mthathi to Government Ministers on dismissal of health workers
12 June 2007
Per Fax (to follow by registered mail):
Ms. Geraldine Fraser-Moleketi
Minister of Public Service and Administration
(012) 336 1810 and (021) 465 5484
Dr. Mantombazana Tshabalala-Msimang
Minister of Health
(012) 325 5526 and (021) 465 1575
Mr. Pierre Uys
MEC for Health, Western Cape
(021) 483 4143
URGENT APPEAL TO REVERSE DECISION ON DISMISSALS
The Treatment Action Campaign (TAC) is appalled by yesterday’s dismissal of public sector workers especially nurses because the dismissal further undermines the right to health caused by unfair service conditions for all workers in the health sector.
For example, the unfair and sudden dismissal of 41 health care workers from the Khayelitsha day hospitals has caused great disruption to the limited health services in the township which serves more than 500 000 people. Of the dismissed Khayelitsha nurses, 30 are workers from one facility, the Site B day hospital. The rest are from Michael Mapongwana and Nolungile Community Health Centres (10 and 1 worker dismissed respectively).
The Department of Health of the Western Cape had announced the immediate dismissal of 75 health workers in the province. That decision in itself was sustained on poor arguments given the current climate of a legitimate strike of civil servants and the ongoing negotiations between unions and the government. But it is completely disproportionate that more than half of the health workers dismissed are serving the same population, and most of them, the same facility.
The list of workers targeted does not follow any rationale that will be sustained in court, which proves that there has not been any proper investigation on the individual names included.
Government action to dismiss nurses in Western Cape and across the country is unlawful because:
1. It removes the only health service from people who need it without alternatives in place;
2. TB and HIV/AIDS services are severely interrupted because of the dismissals now undermining the limited services provided;
3. It hampers the possibility of maintaining a limited service in emergency settings, and for other chronic care;
4. The decision to dismiss was not done on the basis of a fair process;
5. The state has failed over more than a decade to negotiate what constitutes essential services;
6. The human resources crisis in health care caused by poor conditions, increased workloads and failure to develop and implement a reasonable human resource plan for health has led to a legitimate strike; and
7. It unjustifiably limits the right to strike; it inflames and may prolong the strike action.
TAC has approached the unions to ensure that there is no disruption of chronic and emergency services. We oppose any disruption of such services.
We ask government to settle the wage negotiations with the unions as a matter of urgency. We also urge government to withdraw the unfair dismissal notices immediately. Because the situation is one of emergency, the TAC will join patients who are affected in an urgent interdict. We can be reached at the numbers below to settle the matter at any time.
Prof. Craig Househam
Head of Department: Health Services, Western Cape
(021) 483 5677
Dr. Keith Cloete
Principal Director of Primary Health Services, Western Cape
(021) 483 9921
[END OF LETTER]