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DENOSA EC views attack of Kariega Hospital nurse as further proof of failure by health department to protect health workers

Media statement

Monday, 22 August 2022

GQEBERHA – The Democratic Nursing Organisation of South Africa (DENOSA) in the Eastern Cape views the attack of yet another nurse inside the Department of Health’s facility as a further dismal failure by the department to ensure the safety of healthcare workers due to the continued reduction of costs towards the protection of the workplace.

A nurse at Kariega Provincial Hospital fell victim to a vicious attack by a relative of a patient who was brought to the facility after he sustained a gunshot wound on Sunday morning. The female nurses in the trauma unit, who were on duty, were forced by the friends of the patient to carry the patient from the car that they had brought him with.   

Upon pleading their case that they would be unable to carry the patient, and asking the friends to carry him into the facility, one of the friends punched and kicked the female nurse.

DENOSA has, for longer periods, been pointing out the deficiencies of outsourced security by the department as they have failed in every possible angle to protect both the employees and patients inside facilities. As the perpetrators drove away after attacking the nurse, they made further threats that should anything go wrong with the patient, nurses will pay the price for it.

DENOSA has always called for the beefing up of security services by adding personnel numbers as well as providing security personnel with metal detectors. We have also called for the installation of CCTV cameras at relevant areas in facilities as means to assist security. But none of these has been procured and installed in the facilities. Instead, we have seen a consistent decrease in budgets for key areas like security.

As part of COSATU’s National Day of Action on 24 August, which will be in the form of pickets and marches, the issue of poor security in the workplace will also be highlighted by the marches. DENOSA Eastern Cape encourages to nurses in facilities like Kariega Provincial Hospital to form part of the march and demand safe working conditions and their right to work in a safe environment. The stay away is a protected Section 77 (of Labour Relations Act) strike, meaning workers who withdraw their labour and join other workers in demanding safe working conditions won’t be treated unfairly.

To prove how porous the security is in many facilities, the perpetrators were driving in a black Ford Fiesta, but security tools of trade like cameras, which could have assisted a great deal in revealing their identity, is not there. Nurses fell victims in vain.

This is nothing but a further failure by the department to do the basics right.


Issued by DENOSA in Eastern Cape.

For more information, contact:

Sivuyile Sikwe, Acting Provincial Secretary: 072 561 6454

Sivuyile Mange, Provincial Chairperson: 072 575 5136.

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