The KZN Democratic Nursing Organisation of South Africa (Denosa) felt the provincial Department of Health should inform these nurses of its plans for them or face legal action if they do not respond by today.
A 28-year-old nurse from northern KZN, who did not want to be named, felt the department was playing with their emotions as they should have been told at the start of January where they would be placed after completing their community service.
“When we called the college we were told to start looking for jobs in the private sector and, on top of that, there are rumours that we will be released from our contracts,” she said.
She said they are sitting at home with no word from the department, which has left her feeling depressed.
“I feel sorry for the group of nurses that is starting training this month. I’m afraid the same might happen to them,” she said.
A 24-year-old nurse from Durban said some nurses are the breadwinners and she felt shattered by the department’s actions.
“We have commitments,” she said. “They should have told us a long time ago that there were no posts. I also feel angry because they are only talking to us now that we have gone to the media.
“The person we spoke to changed his story and said he did not tell us there were no posts, but that he was busy with placements.”
Denosa provincial secretary Mandla Shabangu said that if the department chose not to employ the nurses, the nurses would be released from their obligation to repay the department for funding their studies and it would forfeit the service of hundreds of nurses.
Shabangu said Denosa was told by the department that it was working on the issue. He said he was hopeful he would receive something by today.
Health spokesperson Ncumisa Mafunda said the department has not employed any of the community service nurses “as it is in the process of identifying vacant and funded posts”.
She said there were still nurses who needed to be regraded after completing a bridging course from staff nurse to professional nurse.
“For this group, too, there is a process under way to find posts. The department is working to identify solutions for both these groups,” she said.
Meanwhile, 300 nurses received their induction and orientation in Pietermaritzburg yesterday, after struggling for years to find permanent employment. They officially reported for duty on Monday.