Over four thousand EPWP workers affiliated to the National Union of Public Service and Allied Workers (NUPSAW) had on Tuesday, 14 March 2023 picketed outside the offices of the Gauteng Department of Health. The demonstration commenced Monday night in a form of a night vigil by the workers. This was to demand that the Gauteng Department of Health (GDOH) permanently absorb the EPWP workers who are working for the department.
On Thursday, 09 March 2023, NUPSAW handed over a memorandum of demands on behalf of the workers and it was received by the Gauteng MEC for Finance Jacob Mamabolo. This was done at the Gauteng Legislature. Following the receipt of the memorandum, the Gauteng Premier Panyaza Lesufi requested that a meeting be held on the day to discuss the demands. It was agreed by all parties present at the meeting that a follow-up meeting will be held today, Tuesday 14 March 2023 to present a response in writing to the demands made.
However, it looks like the Gauteng Provincial Government is renegading on its promise to respond to the memorandum. NUPSAW has been made aware that the Premier is not available to meet them as initially promised. This is a clear indication that the government is not taking the needs of the people seriously and they are dragging their feet with regards to matters that affect the workers’ livelihood.
The Union demands that Gauteng Department of Health (GDOH) should withdraw with immediate effect, its memo dated 29 November 2022, SUBJECT WRITTEN “Ending of contracts for participants on Expanded Public Works Programme (EPWP) effectively from 01 April 2023 and recruitment of new EPWP participants for 2023-2024 Financial Year”.
Furthermore, GDOH to extend the current contract of all EPWP participants as an interim measure to mitigate their demands for permanent employment and to permanently absorb all current EPWP participants.
NUPSAW disapproves this inhuman action of the Gauteng Provincial Government to stop and terminate little income of poor people knowing very well that they will not have another alternative income in future or even at the least get future employment, given current SA’s economic challenges.
It is also clear that even the skills that they have acquired thus far, will not make them to be self-employed since they were only performing menial functions such as data capturing, filing, cleaning etc.
It is appalling and disgusting that the same government who should be responsible for job creation, is determined to add to the scourge of unemployment in the country because these 4 000 plus EPWPs participates whom the GDOH is contemplating to terminate their contract effectively from 01 April 2023, will undoubtedly add to the already high number of SA unemployment rate.
The workers feel that time is not on their side as the date to terminate their contracts is around the corner. They are therefore planning to demonstrate at the Office of the Premier until they are taken seriously, and their demands are met.
For more information:
NUPSAW General Secretary
082 323 2958
061 498 1980