DENOSA Western Cape to hold its two-day Provincial Congress at Ritz Hotel in Sea Point on Thursday and Friday...


The Democratic Nursing Organisation of South Africa (DENOSA) in Western Cape will be holding its two-day Provincial Congress from Thursday and Friday 24-25 July 2014 at Ritz Hotel in Sea Point at 09h00, under the theme: "Advancing Unity for Nurses"

On Thursday, DENOSA General Secretary, cde Thembeka Gwagwa, will be delivering the keynote address at the Congress. COSATU Provincial Secretary, cde Tony Ehrenreich, will be the guest speaker, as well as Director at the Nursing Directorate in the provincial Department of Health, Florence Africa. The guests will address delegate nurses on the challenges that the profession is currently faced with in the province and in the country. 

Members of the media are invited to attend the Congress and report. 

The details of the Congress are:

DATE: Thursday 24 July and Friday 25 July

VENUE: Ritz Hotel, Sea Point.
TIME: 08h30 for 09h00 
CONTACT PERSON: Ivan Saville, DENOSA Provincial Secretary

MOBILE: 082 775 7739 


Sibongiseni Delihlazo, DENOSA Communications Manager
MOBILE: 079 875 2663 

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Address by DENOSA General Secretary at Limpopo Provincial Congress...

DENOSA General Secretary, Thembeka Gwagwa, addressed the DENOSA Limpopo Provincial Congress on the 16th July. She was deployed by NOBs to the province: here is the speech:  



Provincial Chairperson cde Alfred Makoana, Provincial Secretary cde Kwena Manamela, cdes from the Alliance partners, the Mayor of Mussina cde Ramoyada, our distinguished guests, DENOSA leaders from other provinces, Limpopo PEC members, our shop stewards and delegates, I bring to you greetings from our President cde Dorothy Matebeni, the leadership of DENOSA and the NEC. This is indeed a year for the congresses in DENOSA. We all know the dynamics of congresses wherein new leadership is to be elected. Let us not entertain those dynamics to an extent that our union can land up in ICU.

At times we make a mistake in such congresses by putting everything aside and just concentrate on elections, thus making elections the sole reason for having a congress. This congress has commissions where critical issues that are to keep this organisation, this giant nurse’s trade union, relevant to its members and the wider community will be debated. This congress has a theme, “Advancing unity for nurses”.

What is unity, and how do we achieve it? A simple definition of unity is – the state of being united or joined as a whole. How do we achieve unity? I will share with you just five practical ways we could do to achieve unity.

1. Look for ways to help.

We all should be concerned about other people’s spiritual, emotional and material needs, just as one is concerned about his own needs. Go out of your way to help others, a member of DENOSA, a comrade or a patient. Give a patient a listening ear (with cell phone off) when someone needs to talk. Make the commitment to practice one daily act of kindness. Put it in your day timer along with all your other goals, and track it to completion. At the end of the week, reflect back and take pleasure in having accomplished something. If all our shop stewards can do this, our members will the best served members of a trade union.  

DENOSA’s vision during this term of office is – Nurses United in Pursuing Service Excellence. Right through this term we have been preaching unity. How far did this province go and what have you achieved? We moved away from organizing ourselves into professional associations thus deal with professional matters only to include trade union work so that we can look at a nurse holistically, as a professional and as a worker.  

2. Give the benefit of the doubt.

You don’t know a person until you’ve been in his/her shoes. In other words, you can never really know. Everyone has their challenges; everyone is moving at their own pace. Try focusing on seeing others with a good eye. Assume that they’re “doing the best with what they’ve got.”

3. Focus on the positive.

We all have bad days where we’re tense or disappointed. Although you may feel like letting out a burst of criticism, try to flip it upside down, take that moment of potentially negative interaction and use it to say something complimentary and lovable, something that will build the other person and build relationship. When someone helps you out, express gratitude and don’t assume the other person “knows” they are appreciated. Everybody (even the most “annoying” person!) has something positive. Give a genuine complement and encourage their good traits. Everybody needs to hear praise – especially someone with low self-esteem. A kind word at the right time can inspire, lift, and even change a life.

Big people speak about ideas, average people speak about things, and small people speak about people. Be big.

4. Respect others.

The definition of respect is the acknowledgement that someone or something has value. This gets to the point of the fact that while we may not always agree with someone or what they say, but we must always respect what it is that they say. Respect is something that we all expect, but don't properly show others at times. Learn how to better show others the amount of respect that they deserve. During elections we bruise each other so much that when elections are over it is difficult to work together or it takes a long time to trust each other again. 

5. Share wisdom.

One of the greatest gifts you can impart is the gift of wisdom. Whenever you learn something – from books, lectures, life experience, meetings or congresses – do so with the goal of sharing with others. If it was fascinating, how did it change you? What did you learn about living? And how can you transfer that insight to others? If something is worth learning, it's worth sharing.

We are in a congress, how are we going to share the outcome of the congress with members who are not here? Communication is a challenge to most organizations and DENOSA is no exception. We now know that sharing of information is one of the ways of building unity. Sharing information may sound mundane a task, yet it is the most powerful tool that in the end unites organisations. 

Advancing unity

Why should we advance unity for nurses? Nurses comprise the largest proportion, up to 80% (Hughes, 2006), of the health workforce and are considered to be the front line staff across the health continuum in most health services and countries. In spite of the immense and significant role that nurses play in the health care system, they are seldom considered equal partners in multidisciplinary health care teams. As a result, the unique skills held by generalist and specialist nurses are often underutilised and undervalued across the health continuum.

However, research after research indicates that nurses have an important contribution to make in building a health care system that will meet the demand for safe, quality, patient-centred, accessible, and affordable care. In order to deliver these outcomes, it is essential for nurses to practice to the full extent of their knowledge and training while transforming the way in which health care is provided by entering into full partnerships with other health care professionals.

Indeed, research has recognised that there is unrealized scope for extended practice for nurses working in multidisciplinary teams with doctors and allied health professionals. It is due to this acknowledgement that in the past two decades nurses' scope of practice has broadened considerably with the development and implementation of advanced and specialist nursing roles, such as that of the nurse practitioner, the advanced nurse midwife, the forensic nurses and many others implemented through new models of practice. These expanded roles have been implemented in multiple care settings across the continuum of care from community or public health services and primary care, to acute care, and supportive or long-term care.

The specialised nurses have organized themselves into professional societies. They are nurses and we need their skills and knowledge when we are to talk about health reforms. How many of these societies are active in the province, do you have any relationship with them? The theme is about advancing unity for nurses. We must learn both the importance of unity, and the value of diversity. Teamwork, partnership, coordination and inclusiveness are essential values to guide policy activities, while at the same time using the uniqueness of different groups to best political advantage. The slogan “Nurses united can never be defeated” is a reality. We must accept that nursing is not homogeneous.

Innovations in healthcare directed towards improved health outcomes, diagnostic and treatment options, as well as the efficiency and cost effectiveness of the health care system are frequently considered the result of information technology rather than human factors. The need for nurses to seek unique roles that support a wide scope of practice and which fulfil gaps in healthcare is recognised and is forcing us to work in unison. 

We will not be able to fulfil our responsibilities if we are not united. In the bargaining chambers where we negotiate for better working conditions for nurses, we need numbers. Trade unionism is about numbers, how do we grow our membership? We for years been saying we have to reach 100 000 members, things looks like a dream now. We have to relook at the strategies we have been using to increase our membership. 

DENOSA stands for democratic nursing organisation, not nurses organisation. Is there a difference between nursing and nurses? I am bringing this point because we have now, more than before, been challenged to look at the question of the community health workers. They are doing nursing and they account to us. This is a constitutional matter and one of the commissions will be looking at the constitutional amendments. 

2014 marks the twentieth anniversary of our democracy and is undoubtedly a crucial year for our country. If we survive this year with our stability, our democracy and our freedom intact, the future will look a lot brighter. It is in this light that one of our commissions must look at the political landscape in our country.

It is no secret that our federation is facing challenges of disunity. This is happening at a time when our country is facing huge challenges of unemployment, poverty and inequalities. It is indeed a sad story for the working class of this country. The distribution of wealth is too important an issue to be left to economists, sociologists, historians and philosophers. It is of interest to everyone, and that is a good thing.

The concrete, physical reality of inequality is visible to the naked eye and naturally inspires sharp but contradictory political judgements. Some people believe that inequality is always increasing and that the world is by definition always becoming more unjust. Others believe that inequality is naturally decreasing or that harmony comes about automatically, and that in any case nothing should be done that might disturb this happy equilibrium. After talking about this issue of inequality, where do you stand as a person? Surely, with these huge inequalities in the country, there will never be peace and order. In fact some people refer to it as a ticking time-bomb that will burst on our faces one day.  

The main driver of inequality, the tendency of returns on capital to exceed the rate of economic growth, today threatens to generate extreme inequalities that stir discontent and undermine democratic values. Economic trends are not acts of God; political action has curbed dangerous inequalities in the past and may do so again. 

Going back to the theme of this congress – What role are we playing in all this? Ordinary workers are asking questions like – What is really going on in our federation? How should we understand what is happening and will it get better? We are an autonomous organisation and we should look at all these and make our own assessments.

Let me conclude by saying; let us all actively participate in the discussions of the commissions. They are important, let everyone’s voice be heard. If we will listen to what history has to say, we can come to a sound understanding of the past that will tell us much about the problems we now face. If we refuse to listen to history, we will find ourselves fabricating a past that reinforces our understanding of current problems. History teaches us values. If it is true history, it teaches true values, if it is pseudo history, it teaches us false values.





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DENOSA calls for urgent release of arrested community healthcare workers in Bloemfontein...

Media statement

Thursday, 10 July 2014

Health workers must be in health facilities to save lives, not in jail…

The Democratic Nursing Organisation of South Africa (DENOSA) urges the Free State provincial government to release the more than 100 community healthcare workers who were arrested in the early hours of this morning for staging a peaceful night-vigil sit-in at the provincial department of health offices in Bloemfontein against poor state of health in the province.

DENOSA cannot keep quite when health workers’ expression of their first-hand experience on the poor conditions that they render health service under is met with an undemocratic and harsh scare tactic. Allowing the current state of health, which the MEC is familiar with and which we believe is well abreast of, will be tantamount to sentencing the vulnerable and sick people of the province to a death sentence. That must not be allowed and it is not necessary.  

The release of healthcare workers from their duties without proper notice and reason is a regrettable and counterproductive conduct to the nation’s direction of strengthening primary healthcare and where the country ushers in the much-needed National Health Insurance (NHI). The issue of financial administration and especially proper human resource planning in the province has been a long-standing matter that needs serious attention.

The strengthening of primary healthcare in the country can only be effective when nurses and healthcare workers, among other human resource personnel, are hired and properly planned for by provincial departments. Surely the provincial department in the Free State is doing things the opposite way, which drags the progress that the national government is making in improving the health of community members.    

Year in and year out, student nurses who have completed their community service have been left out of the system in the province for a long period before a new financial year kicks in, because in terms of human resource planning they have not been budgeted for. This is happening at a time when health institutions in the province are encountering unnecessarily long queues as a result of gross shortage of staff.

This is unfair and incorrect when health workers express their concern in the most peaceful and honourable way possible, they get arrested while patients continue to die in institutions, the result of which health workers get the blame.   

DENOSA calls upon both the provincial and national government leadership to intervene in the matter.  


Issued by the Democratic Nursing Organisation of South Africa (DENOSA)

For more information, contact:

Sibongiseni Delihlazo, DENOSA Communications Manager

Mobile: 079 875 2663


Facebook: DENOSA National Page


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From Ntandane Nyebe, a nurse in Cape Town. 

As the backbone of any healthcare system in the world, it is my honest opinion that nurses deserve proper compensation for the hard work they put in in improving the health of South Africans. After all, nurses are the proverbial Alpha and Omega. The following 10 points are the reasons.    

1. We are short staffed- one person does a work that should have been done by 4 people.

2. We have gone through formal education, we have got degrees etc, we are accountable to a nurses' board, we got to be paid decent salaries like Pharmacists and doctors- YES.

3. The health institutions do not have enough of the unskilled workers e.g. porters and cleaners- Nurses are then forced to work as unkilled workers-on top of their scope of practice, when the need arises.

4. There are many instances where doctors go & do shopping at the malls when they are on call, or simply some institutions have shortage of doctors- when an emergency situation arises- a nurse does a work that was supposed to be done by the doctor to save the client. Same case when there no social workers- nurses must run around doing what was supposed to be done by a social worker.

5. We do a risky job - I've heard of many nurses & docs who died from contagious diseases- especially trauma staff.

6. The governing party admitted in 2011 that there is a dire shortage of nurses in SA, which means nursing is a scarce skill in SA and the last time I checked professionals with scarce skills were getting paid higher salaries in SA.

7. We work under bad conditions- institutions with no proper security, lack of proper equipment etc. But we always try and do our best to improvise for the benefit of the clients.

8. Nurses who go & work overseas they don't go there just for fun or to experience different culture- they leave because they feel they are being overlooked by Government in terms of salary- meanwhile SA loses specialised nurses with experience - Government who cares about its people would try and keep nurses by raising salaries.

9. We deserve better. Our Government can afford to increase our salaries by 100%. There is money in SA- we have seen structural developments in SA & they have been built by companies who have been paid millions and billions.

10. ANC Government promised to increase salary of Nurses when they were in Mangaung in 2012/13. 

I Thank You


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Nursing Update

July 2014

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About us

The Democratic Nursing Organisation of South Africa (DENOSA) in its current form was established on 5 December 1996.

The organisation was formed through political consensus after the transition to democracy and was mandated by its membership to represent them and unite the nursing profession. Prior to this, the South African Nursing Council (SANC) and the South African Nurses Association (SANA) were statutory bodies which all nurses had to join. It was also important after the transition to democracy to incorp... Read more