Update: Dr Pixely Ka-Isaka Seme Memorial Hospital job recruitment process on track: Hospital on course to open at the end of March 2021

15 February 2021

Kwazulu-Natal Health MEC Ms Nomagugu Simelane has cleared the air about the brand-new Dr Pixley kaIsaka Memorial Hospital, giving an assurance that the recruitment of 1400 staff members from more than 200 000 applications is being finalised, and that the hospital will open its doors at the end of March 2021.

The MEC's comments come in the wake of an uproar caused by a misinformation campaign engineered and fueled by certain sections of organised labour.

Regarded as an architectural wonder, with a number of unique features, the aesthetically-impressive Pixley KaIsaka Seme Memorial Hospital remains one of Government's proudest infrastructure development investments, which are meant to provide improved access to quality healthcare.

Responding to the misleading statements, MEC Simelane says the Department has always had an open door policy for all recognised labour formations with genuine concerns.

She has a message for those who are using the hospital to stir public emotions for political gain:

"I'm very disappointed and surprised that some unions, not all, are trying to turn the Dr Pixley KaIsaka Seme Memorial Hospital into a political game."

"We engage regularly, freely, and openly with organised labour. Our HoD meets with unions once a month. We took a decision to have that arrangement. I, as MEC, also meet with the unions, along with the HOD, once a quarter. There is absolutely nothing that stops any union from raising any issue with us. They can do so directly with the HoD, or put it on the agenda for when we meet. They can always approach us and say, 'There's something that we're not clear about. What is going on?'

"What's even harder to fathom is that the majority of the leadership of organised labour are able to call me directly. Some of them even send me texts via WhatsApp when they need certain things. I really don't understand this apparent confusion when it comes to the Dr Pixley KaIsaka Seme Memorial Hospital. Why do they not ask me on WhatsApp, because we are all there? I am very responsive," said the MEC.

She added that the hospital was now complete, but could not be opened in the past due to disruptions caused by COVID-19.

"This is a 500 - bed hospital. We took a decision that 450 of the beds would be used for COVID during the first wave if we have a shortage of beds. The other 50 beds would be set aside, because they're for psychiatrist wards, which we did not want to adversely affect."

"We could not appoint new staff at the time, because it's not an overnight process, and we were already attending to pressures from COVID. We decided to keep staff who were employed for COVID-19 working at their original sites, and bring them to the new hospital if the need arose. But, the rate of COVID infections did not get to a level where we needed to activate beds at Pixley."

"At the end of August/beginning of September, we issued adverts for people to manage the hospital. Our COVID-19 peak started going down in July. By August, we could do certain things, and so we started interviewing hospital management because you can't open a hospital without management."

"At Pixley, we are doing insourcing for all posts, as per the resolutions of the African National Congress, the party that has deployed me. We will have no contractors. We then decided that, in order to ensure that people have a reasonable opportunity to see and apply for these posts, we should issue the adverts in a phased approach."

"Unions are aware that you can't issue an advert and then close it tomorrow. You issue it, and then wait for people to apply. Most of our adverts closed at the beginning of November. Since then, we've been capturing the applications on our system."

"In December, we got the second wave of COVID-19 infections, which then affected our recruitment process. But we are continuing. The shortlisting process has started."

"Having advertised 1400 posts, we have received more than 200 000 applications. We can't then have a hit or miss process regarding who we employ. There must be a shortlisting and then interviewing process."

"So, the hospital will be opened. We were disrupted by the second wave of COVID-19 infections, but towards the end of March, hospital staff will have been appointed and ready for the hospital to start operating."

Issued on behalf of KZN Health MEC, Ms Nomagugu Simelane

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This page last edited on 15 February, 2021

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