DENOSA Northern Cape calls on provincial government to address severe shortage of nurses in Namaqua District...

Media statement


Tuesday, 23 September 2014


The Democratic Nursing Organisation of South Africa (DENOSA) Northern Cape would like to urge the provincial government to swiftly address the severe shortage of nurses in the Namaqua District as many health facilities work on skeleton staff at many health facilities, a situation that is highly characterised by assistant nurses taking charge of the wards and more resignations of the few remaining staff due to fatigue.


As a second-last resort last week, nurses at Springbok Hospital drew up a petition demanding that conditions be improved at the hospital as well as asking for the resignation of the current CEO and District Manager as the nurses at the hospital feel that management is not concerned about the conditions under which they find themselves. On many occasions the CEO has snubbed a request for a meeting by nurses and, if he accedes to it, he would only avail himself for five minutes provided that he is the one who will do the talking.


DENOSA views this leadership style of the CEO as the most autocratic which provides a fertile ground for the manifestation of more problems at the institution, which remain unresolved. Upon a request by DENOSA Provincial Secretary for a meeting with the CEO, he bluntly said he will only meet nurses at a time that suits him.    


Nurses in the hospital and in the whole district have reached a point where they are feeling that enough is enough. They feel that their communities are being put at risk as well as their professional well-being as the department is not listening to their many cries for help. 


As DENOSA we have been questioning the provincial department on the massive shortage of nurses in the province, especially in the Namaqua District which is the worst affected. A study done by the department showed that a quarter of the nurses in the province would be reaching retirement age in the next 5 years, which would further put pressure on the existing nurses in the province. And those do not include nurses that would leave the service due to illness, death or resignation.    


The enormous shortages have resulted at many clinics where nurses have to attend to large volumes of patients alone as in the case of Fraserburg. Nurses are becoming overworked and burnt out due to this. There were instances where services had to be halted and facilities closed due to the shortage of nurses early this year as was the case with Alexander bay CHC, which has subsequently reopened with fewer staff than when it closed.


In many other facilities around Springbok many services like maternity services and other in-patient services had to be stopped due to shortage of nurses and infrastructure problems at the facilities which resulted in those patients having to be transferred to Springbok Hospital which is also facing a crisis with a severe shortage of nurses. 


Matters at Springbok Hospital have worsened since the beginning of the year because of the resignation of nurses from the hospital as a result of the conditions and the resultant fatigue.


Staff at this hospital feels that they do not receive any kind of support from both the hospital management and district management and would rather be threatened instead of being listened to. On many occasions it has become a norm for lower category nurses to find themselves working outside of their scope of practice as stipulated by the South African Nursing Council (SANC) and this endangers community members and themselves on a professional level, which could even lead to litigation against the provincial department.


DENOSA urges the department of health in the province to look into the matter urgently, before the worst happens.  




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

For more information, contact:

Anthony Vassen, DENOSA Provincial Secretary in Northern Cape

Mobile: 082 450 9132


Facebook: DENOSA National Page


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DENOSA notes fading Ubuntu and rise of numbness over the attack of health worker at Helen Joseph Hospital...

Media statement

Thursday, 04 September 2014

The Democratic Nursing Organisation of South Africa (DENOSA) notes with sadness, albeit not surprise, the complete numbness as well as lack of Ubuntu and empathy in the manner in which the MEC of Health in Gauteng handled the attack of a health worker at Helen Joseph Hospital in Johannesburg on Friday. 

As the organisation for nurses in South Africa,  DENOSA has said its mouth full about poor state of security in facilities in some areas, and complete lack thereof in others, since February 2013 when, as health professionals with first-hand experience, nurses and doctors (DENOSA and SAMA) launched a Positive Practice  Environment (PPE) campaign, which called for provision of a conducive environment for health workers in facilities (of which safety and security is one of prominent  areas highlighted as needing great attention). This campaign was a way for health workers to offer themselves to be roped in in finding solutions to the many critical challenges encountered in facilities daily.

Despite this campaign, DENOSA is saddened to announce that there has been no political will to look into the matter with urgency. In the eight provinces where the campaign has been launched since (except for KZN which has not yet launched), only two provincial governments showed support and commitment to working with health workers in addressing this issue: Northern Cape and Western Cape where MECs pledged their support.  

In Gauteng, DENOSA launched the campaign on the 7th of November 2013 where a memorandum was handed over to the Premier's office, which highlighted all eight pillars that government needed to address in order for a positive practice environment to be realised, which safety and security was the first pillar. Others were and still are: supply of medication; payment of suppliers and workers; working equipment; enough resources; training and education of workers; enough support for health workers in facilities; and restoration of respect for the public health. 

Up to date, there has been no response to the memorandum that was handed over to the Premier's office ten months ago. The Premier has since changed after the elections, and so has the MEC of Health.

Coming to the incident at Helen Joseph, which represents many others similar to it, the central focus has been on whether the victim was raped or not. The MEC of Health, Qedani Mahlangu, came forward on Tuesday and dispelled allegations that the victim of the attack was also raped, and was thin on what plans are afoot for other facilities where attacks have not yet happened. This is a wrong focus at the wrong time, which shows a glaring and saddening death of empathy over what has happened which in the first place should not have happened in the workplace. The fact that the victim came public and revealed her identity, out of anger over the spinning of her ordeal and as her way to highlight lack of security at health centres, to state her side of the story, which was contrary to the MEC's report is living proof over the paralysis of the value of Ubuntu across the board. The most concern occupying the minds is the notion that the woman will need to be compensated, and very little focus is put on the fact that this could have been prevented.

Given what has happened and continues to happen, but hardly reported on, DENOSA's position is that no nurse should enter into a facility until their safety is guaranteed while in the workplace. Hopefully this will raise enough red flag to the employer on the problem of safety in our facilities. DENOSA is currently engaging its structures over the matter, where a way forward will be paved.


In August 2013, all unions in the public sector signed a Service Charter as a binding contract where workers pledged their commitment to work diligently and professionally on the one hand, and government committed to providing a conducive environment for workers to work under on the other.


A reactionary approach to security where it is only beefed up after attacks have happened only exposes health professionals to the danger where they are attacked first, and DENOSA cannot keep quiet when nothing is being done proactively to deal with the matter. Health workers at Helen Joseph are traumatized and need assistance, just as they are elsewhere where these attacks have happened.   


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

For more information, contact:

Sibongiseni Delihlazo, DENOSA Communications Manager
Mobile: 079 875 2663

Tel: 012 343 2315


Facebook: DENOSA National Page



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DENOSA Northern Cape applauds the provincial department for opening new hospital in Upington ...

Media statement


Tuesday, 02 September 2014


Hospital with state-of-the-art technology will employ more nurses and accommodate more patients


The Democratic Nursing Organisation of South Africa (DENOSA) Northern Cape would like to applaud the provincial department for building and opening up a new and bigger hospital in Upington with state-of-the-art modern technology that will speedily serve the great needs of patients in the area.


Last year, DENOSA first launched the Positive Practice Environments (PPE) campaign in the Province in the JTG region in collaboration with South African Medical Association. The campaign is a call by health professionals for an improvement in the conditions in health facilities for health professionals to provide their essential service under conducive environment and for patients to receive quality and timeous healthcare that improves their health.


DENOSA views the opening of the hospital as a positive move that realizes a positive practice environment for the community of Upington, as the capacity of the only other hospital in the region (Gordonia Hospital) was merely half the size of the new Dr Harry Surtie Hospital which will accommodate 327 sleep-in patients at any time. The previous hospital was built in 1954.  


“This is the improvement that will go a long way in improving the lives of the people of the community, as well as address the challenges of attracting health professionals with scarce skills in areas like Upington. This is the move that will motivate health professionals and bring harmony between health workers and community members,” says DENOSA Chairperson in Northern Cape, Martin Taolo.


As the organisation for nurses, DENOSA in the province is also pleased to hear of the intention by the Health MEC, Mack Jack, to look at issues of great concern for nurses in the province such as Occupation-Specific Dispensation (OSD), Performance Management Development System (PMDS) as well as issues of rural allowance for nurses working in rural communities as a way to motivate and attract workers in such communities.


The state-of-the-art equipment and technology that the hospital comes with, such as cardio scan, will certainly improve the contribution of health professionals in the facilities when taking care of patients, and some of the infrastructure, which is one of the eight high-technology equipments in the country, will also create the need to capacitate and empower health professionals, in line with the theme of this year by International Council of Nurses (ICN) which states clearly that for a nurse to be the agent for change, they must be well-trained and empowered as well as motivated. The new hospital epitomizes the ideal conditions for a health facility in South Africa especially in areas where it is most needed.


“We are also pleased to learn that there will be another opening of health facility in De Aar, another region where there is great need to improve the health condition of community members, which will assist the Central Karoo Hospital in De Aar. This is also the district, Pixley Ka Seme District, that is one of the pilot sites for the NHI, ” adds Taolo.


“As DENOSA, we commit ourselves to continue to look into means of improving the service that nurses render to community, through educational programmes provided by our organisation’s professional wing, DENOSA Professional Institute (DPI), to change and improve the attitude of nurses and to empower them into becoming leaders that lead the improvement of health care in their service by identifying correct channels to address the challenges encountered in facilities that they work in.”


Organisation also hosts community dialogues between community members and health workers, as a way for community members to understand PPE and attitude of some community members.


Both the campaign as well as the programme has had positive outcomes in the Kuruman and Kimberley areas where the Health Workers For Change (HWFC) programme has had positive results in improving the attitude of nurses under the environment where there are not enough nurses in facilities.


DENOSA aims to take this approach throughout the country.




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


For more information, contact:


Martin Taolo, DENOSA Chairperson in Northern Cape


Mobile: 083 959 4363




Facebook: DENOSA National Page

Twitter: @DENOSAORG 


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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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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