Forum Wins Permanent Status for CHWs in Gauteng
After a legal battle that lasted over 2years, Community Health Workers(CHWs), led by the Gauteng Community Health CareForum, have finally been
declared permanent workers of the GautengDepartment of Health. On the 27 September 2018, Advocate James Matshekga from the PublicHealth and Social Development Sectoral Bargaining
Council(PHSDSBC) handed down the judgementto declare CHWs as permanent workers of the Gauteng Department of Health.
Khanya College began to assist CHW organising in 2010, and continued this support on a number of fronts includingorganising, campaigning, political education, labour rights education,administrative support as well as moral support in difficult times.
CHWs have been in the forefront of fighting against HIV/AIDS, TB and other
diseases since 1990s, and throughout allthese years CHWs have served communities with dedication and commitment. Even though CHWsdeliver such an important service and play a fundamental role and carry the burden ofdisease, the Government and the Gauteng Department of
Health refused to recognise and acknowledgeCHWs. The Department continued to insist that CHWs are “volunteers” and this meant thatCHWs were excluded from all protections in labour law and were subjected to poor workingconditions and poverty wages.
The Gauteng Community Health Care Forum, which represent CHWs in Gauteng made many interventions to stop this exploitation from the Gauteng Department of Health but it all fell on deaf ears as the department continued to avoid its responsibility. It took struggles, militant actions and a variety of other strategies to get where we are now. It now remains for the Government and the Gauteng Department of Health to honour the ruling. Both the CHWs and Khanya College know that this will not come without a struggle. The legal victory, however, opens a new phase of organising and struggle.