With the country having registered 17 new cases of Covid-19 and the government reporting a flattened curve towards the infection rate, health professionals and the Ministry of Health are embroiled in a renewed war over delayed risk allowances.
The government announced that all frontline workers during the Covid-19 crisis would receive risk allowances and on September 11, the first batch of health workers received their dues, this after health professionals, petitioned the Office of the Prime Minister before downing tools.
Following the first payments, the money broil subsided until last week when the Coalition of Health Professionals reported the health ministryâ€™s disinterest to give them audience on why their balances were delayed.
According to the Health Workers Association Spokesperson, Dr Mojakisane Ramafikeng, the organisation opted to head straight to the office of the Minister in the Prime Ministerâ€™s office for interventionâ€¦ â€œBecause the Ministry of Health seems not interested to have negotiations with us and does not want to listen to our grievances, so we decided to report to the Office of the Minister in the Prime Ministerâ€™s office.â€
â€œWe had initially agreed with the Ministry of Health that the risk allowances would be paid for six months, yet they have only paid four months and no one is saying anything about the balance of two months,â€ he said noting the last payment was supposed to have reflected in September.
â€œWe are in our third month past the deadline yet no one is bothered to notify us of the reasons for the delay,â€ he said noting the office of Minister Kemiso Mosenene was shocked to learn they havenâ€™t received the remainder of their payments.
â€œThe office has scheduled a meeting with us,â€ Ramafikeng said.
Minister Mosene further confirmed having received the health workersâ€™ letter citing he is already dealing with it, noting next week he has scheduled to meet the health professionalsâ€™ organisation.
â€œNext week we will meet and I am sure they will start receiving their money because those allowances were approved by the task force of ministers responsible for NACOSEC,â€ the minister said.
Meanwhile the health ministry spokesperson Tumisang Mokoai, noted that the process of making payments depended on a lot of issues including clock sheets.
He, however, noted the ministry has already started processing payments.
â€œThe allowances are not paid under the normal procedures as when we pay salaries. With this particular payment we look at how many days were worked by each health professional and that takes time because we are dealing with a large group,â€ he explained.