The nurses affiliated to the Democratic Nursing Organisation of South Africa (Denosa) have called for the minister of health Dr Aaron Motsoaledi to be shown the door for overlooking their labour-related problems.
The matter was raised on Friday during the union leaders' meeting in Arcadia, where they accused him of failing to consult with them.
Motsoaledi was invited to address the three-day executive meeting on Thursday but he didn't pitch up, according to their spokesperson Sibongiseni Delihlazo.
The nurses'representatives sharply raised their discontent with Motsoaledi's leadership style during their interaction with the Public Service and Administration minister Faith Muthambi, who was also invited to speak at the gathering.
Some suggested that Motsoaledi should be shown the door for failing to consult with them on numerous issues which affected them as workers.
A shopsteward from Kwa-Zulu Natal Nikiwe Dlamini said: "I like your attitude (minister) because you are saying that you are consulting. Your colleague does not consult. He comes to our conferences and he lectures, foregetting that we are the ones experiencing the health system on a day to day basis. We are the ones who could tell him what is going on and we are the one who will present those solutions to him."
She complained that nurses were overworked because of the additional government programmes and failure to hire more staff.
"Maybe he (Motsoaledi) is overwhelmed. I don't want to say he is failing. We don't want to call him a devil in his suit because we are not like that. But we want to say maybe it is a time to give someone a chance," Dlamini said.
A representative from Ekurhuleni Lebogang Khumalo pleaded with Muthambi to tell Motsoaledi to desist from speaking negatively about nurses in the media.
"We are worried if we should request the President to award us the minister of nurses because clearly this minister is definitely not the minister who considers nurses. His continuous attacks on the nurses means that he is forever subjecting the nurses to the unsafe conditions because of what he says on national radio and television. That means the nurses will never be respected," she said.
Muthambi said she was was well aware of their labour issues and had previously raised some of them with Motsoaledi.
"Once I picked up an issue I write to colleague. I discuss with the collegue. Normally they would say it is because of the various statutes that are there. That certain functions belonged to the provinces. But I do say to the minister but you are responsible for norms and standards. But I won't comment much on the conduct of my colleague. I don't want to be quoted out of context tomorrow," she said.