‘Appointment of EMS interns is a desperate move to win votes’

“This is nothing more than electioneering and a desperate attempt to win votes.”

These are the words of the Health and Allied Workers Indaba Trade Union (Haitu) after the Gauteng department of health appointed 1 120 interns.

The interns were hired recently to work at Gauteng Emergency Medical Services (EMS) for a period of 12 months, said Haitu, cautioning that the appointments were not genuine.

Lerato Mthunzi, the general secretary of Haitu, said on Friday that ordinarily they would support any initiative to create jobs.

“We do support this initiative because we are experiencing a dire shortage of EMS workers in our communities,” Mthunzi said.

“However, we would be happy if these workers were employed permanently and not on a one-year contract.”

Qualified yet jobless

Mthunzi alleged that the department abandoned hundreds of nurses who were trained for the R171 and the R425 diploma courses in nursing.

“The department spent billions of rands of taxpayer money to train these nurses with the expectation that they would be employed to strengthen healthcare services in the province.

“But to date, they are frustrated because they are qualified but jobless.”

Mthunzi revealed that the hospitals are always full to capacity with patients who need help but are unable to adequately serve them because of staff shortages.

Said Mthunzi: “The provincial and national departments of health are setting young people up for major disappointment by creating the false impression that their goal is to employ people and fill the vacancies in healthcare.

“The reality is that the state is simply trying to win votes ahead of the elections next month [on May 29].”

Demands are not unreasonable

She said the union wants the interns to be employed permanently.

“The department must urgently employ all nurses who were trained for R171 and R452 diplomas so that we can improve healthcare services in all our facilities across the province.

“These demands are not unreasonable, and a caring government would act accordingly to ensure that there is sufficient human resource capacity in our public healthcare facilities.”

The head of communications at the Gauteng health department, Motalatale Modiba, said the appointment of the interns is to beef up medical services and expand the pool of qualified individuals in the emergency services sector.

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