More than half of the Northern Cape Department of Health’s R5.8 billion budget was allocated to staff salaries.
MORE than half of the Northern Cape Department of Health’s R5.8 billion budget was allocated to staff salaries.
The MEC for Health, Maruping Lekwene, said that R3.3 billion (57% of the total budget) was allocated to salaries.
The MEC noted that the department has made a number of appointments to deal with the shortage of staff at some of its facilities.
“The department has appointed a total of 589 permanent appointments and 747 contract appointments. In addition to this, we renewed the contracts for 750 Covid-19 brigades and 880 health facility assistants. These contracts have been renewed to ensure continuity and further improvement in our services,” said Lekwene.
“An internal advertisement will be placed before the end of next week, for the recruitment of 249 permanent support staff ranging from housekeeper supervisors, laundry supervisors, cleaners, porters, general assistants, drivers, registry clerks, food services aids, admin clerks, mortuary assistants, artisans, human resource and supply chain management staff.”
Lekwene said the appointments are also being done in an attempt to bring down the high overtime claims made by staff members.
“Last year we had to pay millions of rand to overtime claims. The major cause of overtime was due to the lack of staff. However, we are working with the human resource offices to investigate whether some of those claims were legit. We need to properly manage these claims because, if not, we will find ourselves in financial difficulty. We are expecting a reduction in overtime claims since we have appointed additional staff members. We do not want to deprive staff of fair overtime claims, but we have to address the matter urgently,” he said.
Lekwene added that the department is also working on addressing the high number of staff who work part-time at private hospitals.
“The Northern Cape is the only province that allows clinical staff to work or moonlight at private facilities. Some of our doctors who are permanently employed at Robert Mangaliso Sobukwe Hospital are working at private hospitals. We also need to look at this trend. This matter should, however, not only be left in the hands of the department; we call on our professional staff to uphold their professional morality. We need to correct this in order for all our patients to have value for their money.”
The MEC noted that the majority of the Province’s residents rely on public medical care.
“The Province only has four private hospitals – two in Kimberley, one in Upington and another one in Kathu. The majority of the people are reliant on public health-care facilities. Our people do not have many options or access to private health care. Also, our people do not have medical aid and cannot afford medical aid. As a department, we need to recommit ourselves and we must at all times seek to improve in order to give quality health-care services to our people.”