THE Department of Health in Limpopo has thrown out of the window allegations by the Democratic Alliance (DA) that up to 20 000 home and community-based care workers in the province could lose their jobs.
Health MEC’ spokesperson Thabiso Teffo explained: “The Department has introduced among others a new process of appointing NPO’s that will be responsible for home-based carers. The four organisations are the ones that are going to be responsible for the communities and health workers all over the province.
“We are reducing the NPO’s because the majority of them were spending money on administration, so we are reducing the bottle neck. We want to give directly to the home-based carers. Whatever the DA is raising is far-fetched. I think they are scoring political points.”
But DA’s Lindy Wilson believe that a decision has already been made to put home and community-based care out to tender and only four out of 410 NPOs will provide the service to the millions of poor people in Limpopo.
Wilson said: “While the tender calls for only NPOs to submit proposals for the provisioning of services for 36 months, it also states that the successful NPO must have in place electronic financial management systems, information and human resource management systems.
“This immediately knocks out 98% of current NGOs serving the poorest rural communities, many who have been serving their communities for as long as 15 years. Furthermore, the department has made it clear that successful bidders must contract the existing trained community health workers provided by the department for projects.
“To compound the matter, NPOs have been advised that only care workers with a matric certificate will be considered for employment. The home and community workers have been fulfilling the role of government for many years.”
But Teffo said the NPO’s do not deliver services:“It is the home-based carers that provide services and we have them. The four organisations we are hiring will be administering payments for the home-based carers. The work is not done by NPO’s, it is done by the home-based carers.
He dismissed allegations that up to 20 000 carers will lose their jobs: “We assure you that no home-based carers will come and complain to us that they have not been paid. This move is in the best interest of the home-based carers because they are the ones who actually do the work.
“We are currently in a legal battle with the majority of the NPO’s and their cases are being handled by the law enforcement agencies for not paying the workers. We realised that they spent money on administration and not necessarily on the actual work. The home-based carers are the ones who are going to be beneficiaries. There will be a financial accountability which the Auditor General and the Scopa have been raising.”