Health addressing 2 000 unfunded vacant posts of medical doctors

Friday, April 19, 2024

There are currently 2 012 unfunded vacant posts of medical doctors in the health sector across nine provinces and government requires R2.4 billion to fill them. 

This number excludes other categories of health professionals such as nurses, pharmacists, radiographers, dentists and so on.

However, Health Minister, Dr Joe Phaahla, has assured citizens that the department is working around the clock to address the challenge of unemployed health professionals including medical doctors who have completed statutory community service programmes. 

“We are working closely with provincial health departments focused on all critical vacant posts to strengthen healthcare delivery to adequately respond to the needs of our people. We are making progress in the recruitment of qualified health professionals across the country,” he said in a statement on Friday.

“Let me dispel the myths by some critics and allay fears that the department is dragging its feet to recruit and appoint unemployed health professionals.” 

Meanwhile, the Minister said he was pleased to announce that a total of 2 066 health professionals have been appointed between January and March 2024 across the country.

According to Phaahla, the number consists of 1 121 medical officers at Grade 1 entry level, 579 professional nurses, 127 allied health workers, 100 pharmacists, 91 radiographers, 23 dentists and nine environmental health officers. 

“The recruitment processes are continuing in provinces to finalise more appointments scheduled to enable the successful candidates to assume duties in May 2024.” 

The Minister said he continues to work closely with the provincial Health MECs to activate unfunded vacant posts using the allocated additional budget to enable recruitment of more health workers. 

“It is our wish to employ as many health professionals as possible to play a meaningful role in the public health system of the country. It is important to emphasize that the filling of posts is done in line with the employment guidelines as issued by the Department of Public Service and Administration.” 

This means the applicants should not limit themselves to the provinces or districts of their residence.


Shifting his focus on cholera, he said South Africa has recorded more than 150 suspected cases, 12 laboratory-confirmed cases and one death between 1 January and 18 April 2024. 

Eleven of these cases were recorded in Limpopo and one in Gauteng.

“Three of these cases are imported from Zimbabwe, with no definite history of contact with other confirmed cases.” 

According to Phaahla, the deceased was a 48-year-old male South African citizen from Musina, in Vhembe District who experienced diarrhoeal symptoms. He was admitted on 16 March and passed away on 21 March in Pietersburg Hospital. 

“The risk of both imported cases and local transmission remains high due to the cross-border movements to and from both Zimbabwe and Mozambique,” the Minister explained. 

He appealed to the organisers of social gatherings including religious and traditional events to ensure strict compliance with personal hygiene including handwashing, especially during food preparation and serving, and ablution facilities to prevent possible transmission of cholera and other foodborne and waterborne diseases. –