To: Health Editors & Journalists
Issued by: Departments of Health
Date: Saturday, 21 January 2023

Post Community Service Employment – January 2023


Pretoria: The Department of Health has been alerted to a social media poster bearing the name of trade union SAMATU, agitating for a march planned for Thursday, 26 January 2023 to Dr AB Xuma Building – the head office of the National Department of Health and Offices of the Premiers for Eastern Cape and KwaZulu-Natal. The department has no record of notice by any organisation or group of people to stage a march at its offices.


What is disturbing is the malicious pretence that is being partly cited as the reason for the march – ‘the National Department of Health committing to find doctors employment’. The department is fully aware that there are medical doctors who are still trying to find employment after completing the statutory community service. In terms of the National Health Act, the National Department of Health, in conjunction with the Provincial Departments of Health take responsibility for the placement of internship and community service applicants.


Once medical doctors complete their community service, they then become free to seek employment in workplaces of their choice. It therefore becomes their responsibility to apply for positions at various hospitals under the jurisdiction of the Provincial Departments of Health or in the private health sector.


SAMATU’s appeal to medical doctors who do not yet have employment is based on false information. At no stage did the department commit to find employment of medical doctors who have completed their community service. In previous discussion with SAMATU, they were advised to submit a comprehensive list of such unemployed doctors, which contains the full personal details including the HPCSA registration details of each doctor.


The Department of Health would then share that list with the provinces for them to assist with employment where they have funded vacant posts. SAMATU has thus far not complied with that request and guidance.


It is therefore disingenuous for leaders of professional and democratic trade union for medical practitioners to try and exploit the emotions of those desperately seeking employment by giving them false information. It further shares the concerns about health professionals who remain unemployed. The department remains committed to strengthening the health system through, among others, ensuring adequate staffing of its health facilities, that is why the Minister of Health continues to engage with National Treasury, imploring it to improve the budget allocation to enable the public health sector to fulfil its constitutional responsibility.


The department discourages any action that seeks to disrupt health services. Its doors remain open for honest engagements with any organisation that wishes to raise concerns including sharing viable potential solutions.


Whilst everyone and any organisation have a right to protest in public, such protest must not be based on false information. Leaders have the responsibility to represent their members honestly, faithfully and without distortion of the facts. Solution-seeking engagements are always welcomed to achieve a long and healthy life for all South Africans


For more information and media enquiries, please contact:

Mr Foster Mohale
Health Departmental Spokesperson


Mr Doctor Tshwale
Spokesperson for Health Minister
063 657 8487