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The KwaZulu-Natal Provincial Executive Council has approved the extension of the contracts for healthcare workers who were appointed to strengthen the provincial healthcare system.

These healthcare workers were also deployed to COVID-19 sites.

A total of 10 321 healthcare workers were employed last year, as part of the provincial plan to fight the spread of COVID-19.

During its ordinary meeting held on Wednesday, the Provincial Executive Council, led by Premier Sihle Zikalala, approved the extension of the contracts by six months.

Given the unprecedented devastation caused particularly by the second wave of COVID-19, and with the country worryingly facing the possibility of a third wave in or around April 2021, Zikalala said the province needs to maintain the capacity that it has created.

This is in order to be able to respond effectively to the potential attack of the virus in the coming months.

“The appointment of the contract staff has assisted in alleviating the pressure and burn-out of staff, who have borne the brunt of COVID-19. Their presence has improved turnaround times in the attendance and treatment of patients, as well as led to the reduction in patient waiting times, among other critical performance areas.

“It has also assisted in the reduction of morbidity and mortality rates of patients. We are therefore very pleased that these staff members will continue being in the frontlines of our healthcare system, helping us to continue waging war against COVID-19,” Zikalala said.

Consequence Management Framework approved

The council has also, for the first time, approved a KwaZulu-Natal Consequence Management Framework, which will serve as a practical instrument to curb fraud, corruption and mismanagement of public resources.

Under the framework, cases of misconduct, corruption and fraud will be expedited, and finalised within the set time frames.

The framework ensures the protection of investigating and presiding officers against undue influence or threats, victimisation and other acts of intimidation.

“The framework also prescribes that recommendations and findings by investigating units are implemented within 30 days of their release by the relevant departments. Long pending cases of fraud and corruption will be finalised within 90 days,” Zikalala said.

The framework will be linked to performance agreements, assessment and rewards, in respect of all public servants in the province. – SAnews.gov.za

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