Written by on February 26, 2024

Written by: Tasha Siziba


Considering that there aren’t enough doctors at any hospital, the decision to discontinue paying doctors overtime by the Gauteng Department of Health (GDoH) has drawn criticism.

The cancellation of overtime means there won’t be enough doctors on duty to serve thousands of patients as a result of the overtime cancellation.

According to Health Minister Dr. Joe Phaahla, South Africa has filled 564 medical officer roles since October 2023, showing a scarcity of doctors and nurses.

Phaahla has emphasized the necessity for doctors to apply for these positions as they would for any role within the public service.

The Health and Allied Workers Indaba Trade Union (HAITU) General Secretary, Lerato Mthunzi says, doctors are required to work 40 hours per week and be available for commuted overtime, but are not allowed to ‘opt-out’ of overtime under current policy.

“And traditionally it has been the responsibility of the hospital CEO’s to manage the staff roster and allocate doctors to do overtime, in accordance with the needs of the hospital. However, the GDoH has issued a communication where it alerts hospitals that overtime work for doctors will be cancelled pending a review at the start of the new financial year.”

The union demands that the Gauteng Department of Health (GDoH) revoke this decision.

Mthunzi says this move will destroy what is left of the healthcare system in the province as it is already on life support.

“The GDoH has decided to centralize that decision making so that the department makes the decision on overtime, and not the CEO’s of hospitals. This is a disaster in the making because, the department should not take over the work of managing the roster for all the public healthcare facilities in the province. This will lead to chaos and thousands of unnecessary deaths”.

HAITU reports that hospitals are facing severe stock shortages due to the department’s incompetence and looting of procurement expenditure.

Hundreds of unemployed healthcare workers were expected to gather at Madiba and Kgosi Mampuru streets in Pretoria Central from 8am this Monday morning before marching to the Union Buildings.

Healthcare workers express concern over the country’s job shortage, despite high-cost training, as they remain unemployed despite their efforts.

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