Unemployed Denosa nurses stage sit-in to demand jobs
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Johannesburg - Newly-qualified nurses, who are sitting at home unemployed, staged a sit-in at the Gauteng Department of Health demanding employment after their contracts were terminated, allegedly without notice.
Democratic Nursing Organisation of South Africa (Denosa) National Student Movement chairperson Nathaniel Mabelebele said: “Community services nurses were no longer going to be employed. However, the discrepancy is that they were only told on the day their contracts ended. There was no notice of any sort and no letter. It was just a phone call to say ‘Don’t come to work today’ and that dissatisfaction caused the sit-in.”
He said the nurses did one year of community service last year at Gauteng’s healthcare facilities after completing their four-year nursing course in 2019.
“The nurses, who studied with a government bursary, were only told on January 1 of the notice of termination of their contracts while other health professionals, like radiographers, were informed in September,” said Mabelebele
One nurse, who asked to remain anonymous, said she was informed on December 31 her contract had been terminated. However, she said she did not receive a termination letter.
“You expect that as a nursing community service employee that you will be absorbed into the system and when they tell you that your contract has come to an end and there is no communication from the central office, it’s a mixture of emotions.”
Mabelebele said the sit-in started at Charlotte Maxeke Academic Hospital, where they demanded to be given termination letters from the CEO, and continued to Sterkfontein Hospital in Krugersdorp before the group proceeded to the MEC’s office in the CBD.
“We are demanding to be employed as Treasury's imposed moratorium on hiring new personnel takes its toll on provinces at the time when the second wave of Covid-19 wreaks havoc in the country,” he said.
The Denosa National Student Movement said the nurses demanded they be released from the department’s bursary or contract system so they could look for employment elsewhere.
They also demanded the creation or continuation of their previous post for at least three months, the payout of leave not taken and the fast-tracking of the Community Service Completion Certificate in order to apply for other employment.
Mabelebele said upon their arrival at the department, the nurses received positive feedback from the department who said the 983 nurses would be absorbed into the system.
He said the movement gave the department five days to resolve the matter.
The department’s spokesperson, Kwara Kekana, confirmed the department met with the nurses on Monday to address their concerns.
“The Department assured all 983 Community Service Nurses that they will be absorbed or permanently employed and as we are faced with the COVID-19 pandemic and we need to increase human resource capacity which is very critical to stop the spread of Coronavirus,” she said.