DENOSA salute Forensic Nurses this Women's Month. 

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DENOSA has concluded its mandate collection on the current wage offer by Government and the outcome as mandated by members is to accept the offer

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DENOSA seeks mandate from its members on government offer at PSCBC

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About us

Nurses united in pursuing service excellence

DENOSA supports, represents and develops its members as the backbone of South African health care.

DENOSA - an empowered nursing cadre, serving, caring and advocating for society.


  • Excellence and professionalism
  • Accountability
  • Transparency
  • Collectivism
  • Leadership development (including empowerment)
  • Organisational growth
  • Diversity
  • Integrity and loyalty
  • Democracy
  • Visibility

DENOSA background and history

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 incorporate nurses from the homelands under the previous political dispensation, as they were forced to leave SANA and organise themselves into separate professional bodies.

This move to a unified nursing union was implemented shortly after the national Convention for a Democratic South Africa (CODESA) negotiations and transition to democracy in 1994, when the nurses of the country (then 10 separate organisations) amalgamated. Sixteen years later DENOSA has established itself as a well-organised entity that acts on behalf of its members – the biggest union in the country solely dedicated to the interests of nurses.

DENOSA has an organisational structure that includes both elected officials and full-time staff. It has a presence in all nine provinces and represents nurses across the country.

DENOSA is currently the largest nurses’ trade union in the country with over 84 000 members. It has a dual focus on both trade union and professional development offering training to nurses.

Although DENOSA has its roots in unionism and representing the workplace interests of members, DENOSA took notice of the global developments amongst nursing unions to also include professional development of their members as part of their core focus. To this end the DENOSA Congress of 2007 took a decision to re-introduce professional development activities as part of the DENOSA offering.

To this end the DENOSA Professional Institute (DPI) was established with generous funding provided by Atlantic Philanthropies in September 2009 which augmented the internal DENOSA funding used for the programme.

DENOSA is not the only trade union for nursing professionals as nurses have choices of COSATU-affiliated and non-COSATU affiliated unions to register with. DENOSA’s membership numbers are extremely important as they affect bargaining power with employers, and ultimately DENOSA’s credibility as a union. Currently DENOSA has enough members to be represented in the Public

Health and Social Development Sectoral Bargaining Council (PHSDSBC) and the Public Service Co-ordinating Bargaining Council (PSCBC). However, there are discussions within these bargaining councils relating to increasing the minimum membership number required by unions for participation at the PSCBC to 100 000 which would seriously affect DENOSA – limiting both their bargaining power and their income from the public service income stream.

DENOSA is currently the smallest of the trade unions represented at the PSCBC with only 5,75% of the votes. This is of concern to DENOSA and speaks to an urgent need to recruit and retain members .

DENOSA represents a profession which is subject to ongoing and serious challenges. South Africa faces a huge disease burden – particularly infectious diseases but also a rise in chronic diseases of lifestyle – and the public health care system is characterised by ageing infrastructure, shortages of qualified personnel, particularly at the management level, and a huge demand for service. Nurses provide an essential service and yet are not always adequately compensated or valued by society.

DENOSA has an important role in ensuring that the role of nurses is recognised, that their conditions of service are improved and that they are given the opportunity for ongoing professional and personal development.

The dual role of trade union and professional association is sometimes a challenging one as the need for industrial action may conflict with nurses’ professional ethics – DENOSA’s has proven itself capable of straddling the divide and managing such situations in a responsible and ethical manner.

2010 DENOSA Congress Resolutions

In October 2010 DENOSA held a Congress at which a new President was elected as well as a New Executive Committee (NEC). The DENOSA Congress also developed a series of Resolutions.

The congress resolved:

To unite nurses of different persuasions and to preserve the legacy left by the ‘trail blazers’ and the pioneers of nursing.

That the merger/unification with SADNU be processed by DENOSA National Executive Committee.

To embark on organisational renewal and growth path through among other thing, marketing DENOSA Professional Institute (DPI) as a nurse development and empowerment vehicle and assert professionalism as a strategic pillar to salvage the image of nursing.

To fast track the signing of Minimum Service Agreement in order to protect nurses during strikes.

To work with government to improve service delivery by insuring proper funding, resourcing and capacitating staff for quality health service delivery.

To develop anti-corruption campaign in both public and private sectors.

That nursing and midwifery should not be separated, however clinical specialization should be promoted and preceptorship in midwifery be enforced.

That the funding system for National Health Insurance (NHI) should be based on a tax system that focuses on the rich rather than the poor working class.

That South African Nursing Council, as a strategic partner and an important component in the nursing fraternity, should serve its constituency with excellence.

That the leadership profile should be reflective of the demographics of the organisation at all levels and to develop campaigns with specific focus on gender equality and human trafficking.