Denosa members. File picture: Zanele Zulu/African News Agency/ANA.

Ekurhuleni - The Democratic Nursing Organisation of SA (Denosa) has withdrawn its members from Ramokonopi clinic in Ekurhuleni over safety concerns.

Denosa withdrew its nurses following alleged attacks on its members by community members, with little or no intervention from management. 

In the latest incident, Denosa alleges one of its members was physically and verbally assaulted by the relatives of a patient over the weekend. 

According to Denosa Ekurhuleni regional secretary Lebohang Khumalo, the midwife was attacked three times, despite police intervention, and even had to be escorted home following her shift. 

"Over the weekend, a midwife at Ramokonopi was physically assaulted and verbally insulted by relatives of a patient during a delivery while security personnel sat and watched without any assistance. 

"12 people walked into the centre and assaulted her three times, at some point demanding the patient's files. The member was afraid to go home and had to be escorted."

Following this, Khumalo said 61 of the 76 nurses working there were withdrawn from Ramokonopi and deployed to surrounding health facilities until the safety issues are resolved.

Khumalo confirmed that Denosa had engaged the hospital's management and Ekurhuleni Health District on the ongoing issue for more than two years, yet despite this, attacks on members continued, particularly at night. 

"Safety of workers has been an agenda item in the district multilateral for the past two years and the security manager has proven to be incompetent as he has failed to put proper security measures in place, and has failed to provide new means that ensures safety of staff.

"The security company has failed to render the required services to the staff which is a gross indication that they are incapable of providing and ensuring safety of members. 

Khumalo further said: "The community of Ramokonopi section in Katlehong has a responsibility to protect the services provided to them. It is unfortunate that they have also contributed to the security problems in the facility as it is the very community members that assault staff members."

She confirmed that engagements with management continued but that nurses would not return to Ramokonopi until their grievances had been resolved.