Spat over jobs rages on at unopened hospital

Nombulelo Damba – NewAge
Jan 10 2012 9:54AM

The newly built Khayelitsha District Hospital has not even opened its doors but was the site of protests over job allocations on Monday morning.

About 100 people from Khayelitsha wards 94 and 97, mobilised by the Mandela Park backyarders organisation, gathered from 6am to demand clarity as to why job opportunities at the 300-bed hospital appeared to have been filled before they had even been advertised.

The residents demand that at least 60% of employees be sourced from the residential areas surrounding the hospital.

The protest follows a community meeting in Mandela Park on Sunday afternoon to investigate rumours regarding employment at the new hospital.

Residents claim they were never consulted about developments related to the hospital and accuse the Khayelitsha Development Forum (KDF) leadership and ward councillors of failing to communicate job opportunities to residents.

According to a statement by the Mandela Park backyarders, residents believe the KDF and councillors were grabbing available job opportunities for friends and relatives.

Protestor Theona Paul said it was “clear that the majority of people working in this hospital are from other areas, only a few people are from Khayelitsha”.

“We demand to know how the process of hiring people went. Some of us have applied but none of the people from Mandela Park or Khayelitsha were hired. They’re playing with us, some people are busy working there while we’re waiting for interviews.”

Protestor Mlungisi Yakobi said the residents were not after jobs that could only go to professionals, but expected to receive the majority of the non-professional jobs.

He said the community thought they still had time to view job advertisements and apply as the hospital was only supposed to open in March, but people had been working there since last month.

“We blame the Khayelitsha Development Forum for not consulting with us, because the hospital management claim they been dealing with them,” said Yakobi.

KDF chairperson Michael Benu denied the accusations his organisation was securing jobs for friends and relatives.

“I don’t even know these protesters; maybe it’s people who have their own agenda,” he said.

Benu said the KDF consulted residents and the ward councillors were aware of developments at the hospital.

“All posts were advertised so I don’t understand why we still find people complaining.”

The provincial health department could not respond to queries by deadline. – WCN

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