Medical trade union welcomes new budget allocated for health sector

The South African Medical Association Trade Union (Samatu) has welcomed the budget that is allocated for the healthcare sector system.

This after the Minister of Finance, Enoch Godongwana, announced during his budget speech on Wednesday that the department will receive R848-billion aimed at reinforcing the sector.

Opportune moment

On Thursday, Samatu chairperson, Dr Cedric Sihlangu, said the intervention came at an opportune moment.

“The relentless pleas for the prioritisation of the faltering healthcare system have finally been met with a decisive response. We are gratified to see our cries for action being acknowledged through this substantial budget consideration,” said Sihlangu.

The union said they are particularly encouraged by the R57.6-billion dedicated to the salaries of critical services. 

Unemployed doctors

The provision follows a march that more than 800 unemployed doctors marched to the offices of the department of health in KwaZulu-Natal. They submitted their memorandum.

During the speech, the minister said an additional R3.7-billion has been allocated for the financial year 2024/2025. This is to address the wage bill increase and recruitment of the unemployed professionals.

“This allocation enables the activation of previously vacant but unfunded posts, thereby allowing the posts to be filled. Thus providing an opportunity for the many unemployed doctors to be integrated into the public healthcare system.

“We further commend the prioritisation made by the ministry in refraining from diverting funds towards the bailout of state-owned enterprises. [Instead] focusing on the fundamental needs of the citizens. It is an overdue recognition that the government’s prime focus should rest on the welfare of its people,” Sihlangu added.

Welcomed development

Sihlangu said the R27.3-billion that has been allocated for healthcare infrastructure is a welcomed development.

“It not only takes us a step closer to being National Health Insurance (NHI) ready.  But it also provides the needed impetus for renovating our medical facilities.

“This is a development we believe will transform and enhance the calibre of public healthcare services.”


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