South Africa: Unemployed Nurses Demand Vacant Hospital Posts Be Filled

12 November 2019

Over 200 nurses marched to the KZN Department of Health in Pietermaritzburg

"Patients are dying on hospital benches while hundreds of nurses are unemployed," says Nonhlanhla Mazibuko. She was one of over 200 unemployed nurses who marched to the Department of Health head office in the Natalia Building, Pietermaritzburg, on Monday.

Marching under the banner of the South African Revolutionary Allied Workers Union (SARAWU) they were demanding that the department fill all the vacant posts at hospitals and clinics in KwaZulu-Natal.

Most of the nurses came from Pietermaritzburg, joined by nurses from from Greytown, Mandeni, Ngwelezane, Estcourt, Port Shepstone and Durban.

Mazibuko, who is chairperson of the unemployed nurses committee, said hospital wards were full yet nurses with qualifications were sitting at home.

"Some of us studied in private colleges and we don't have experience. They must not ask for experience. Where are we going to get experience from?" asked Mazibuko. "Those nurses who are trained in private colleges are isolated by the department," she claimed.

Jabu Zulu, an unemployed nurse who joined the march, said, "One nurse is expected to serve over 60 patients in the ward ... How is that possible? They should hire nurses the same way they recruit us for votes," she said.

"All we see is a lot of sod turning. We are not the Department of Agriculture. When are they building hospitals and clinics for us to be employed?" asked Zulu.

Retired nurse Jabu Mtshali said, "I came to support the nurses because I can relate to what they are going through. The sad thing is that nurses pay for their [Annual Practising] Certificate at the SA Nursing Council. Imagine paying for a certificate while staying at home."

The director of nursing in the province Nompumelelo Sosibo said the department will look at the issues raised by the nurses.

Sosibo said health MEC Nomagugu Simelane will respond to the memorandum in 14 days.

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