Minister disappointed by non-payment of doctors

Wednesday, February 13, 2019

Health Minister Dr Aaron Motsoaledi says he is disappointed and highly distressed to learn that some intern and community service doctors who started work in January, have not been paid their salaries.

According to the Department of Health, when the problem came to the fore, Motsoaledi understood that the association representing the doctors, South African Medical Association (SAMA) and respective administrations in provinces where the problem manifested itself, have been meeting to resolve the matter speedily, and that by 7 February 2019 the matter would have been settled.

“The 7th of February is a week after they should have been paid. Being paid a week later than expected is by itself not acceptable. It is very difficult for the Ministry to fathom what difficulty could managers encounter that would lead to non-payment of a salary,” Motsoaledi said.

On 9 December 2018, the Ministry issued a statement about the stimulus package and employment of health professionals. Another statement about the first entrant health workers (internship and community service) was issued on 12 December 2018.

These statements were issued after a two-day intense discussion about the issue of Human Resources for Health, held at the National Health Council with all the MECs and Heads of Department (HODs).

“The statement was issued in agreement with everybody that all the relevant HR issues be resolved. What was left was for each province to capture each individual doctor on their respective persal systems where all the other public servants working in provinces are captured.

“Every single HR section of a province knows that for a person to be paid at the end of the month, their full details must be on persal latest by the 15th of that month. Provinces have been paying public servants their salaries for decades and there is nothing new in that.

“It is for these reasons that it is puzzling and extremely distressing for something like a payment of a salary to suddenly become a big problem. It was further disconcerting to learn that even a promise to fix whatever administrative glitch that may have occurred, [there were]  still... problems... by 7th of February,” the Minister said.

The Ministry has set a new date, 11 February 2019, for the payment of doctors.

“I am calling on the very few provinces, who have not yet finalised this very simple task of paying somebody their well-deserved salary, to make sure that no intolerable excuse is forwarded to the affected health workers on the 11th,” Motsoaledi said.

The Ministry further called on all Premiers of affected provinces to take interest in the matter and check what is happening in their administrations. –