Wednesday, 09 February 2022
PRETORIA – Given the skyrocketing unemployment rate in South Africa which is wreaking havoc in both public and private sectors and leaving many families below the breadline, the Democratic Nursing Organisation of South Africa (DENOSA) was hoping that the government would think of the most convenient and prudent way to save as many costs by holding the State of the Nation Address (SONA) virtually and use the R2 million and more that could be saved from this frivolous, glamorous and opulent event towards hiring of essential public servants like nurses.
At this moment, DENOSA also pleads with all provincial governments to please forego this insensitive idea of holding SOPAs physically and save as much as possible towards employing the essential personnel to serve the sick and vulnerable in our communities. DENOSA stated the disastrous state of the country’s healthcare system before Parliament’s Portfolio Committee on Health yesterday, as part of the Committee’s Public Hearings on NHI.
Many of the unemployed nurses, in their thousands, are sitting at home while they are desperately needed by the vulnerable patients in clinics and hospitals across the country. Governments in provinces like the Eastern Cape and Gauteng are unable to absorb both nurses and nurses who have completed their community service respectively.
The contracts of more than 630 nurses in the Eastern Cape, who were hired as part of a response to COVID-19, were not renewed as from 1 January 2022, and these nurses are idling at home in a province that it takes a patient more than 8 hours to be attended to in many clinics due to the severe shortage of staff.
Equally, Gauteng Department of Health has just announced their intention to release more than 5000 nurses who have completed their community service and have become fully-fledged and independent nurses who are ready to be allocated into wards in healthcare facilities. The same government had spent millions on these nurses for at least five years in each nurse, only to forego a golden opportunity to address both long queues and the crisis of staff shortage in facilities by not planning properly.
In the bigger scheme of things, the crisis of unemployment is bringing the country down to its knees, with almost half of the people the working-age being unemployed. Yet the government is preoccupied with petty opulent events like the SONA, which should be held virtually for as long as our economy continues to bleed jobs. Even if the cost of the SONA were to be equivalent to employing ten nurses only, that could still go a long way in saving the lives of patients.
With this gloomy picture of unemployment which is sweeping throughout the country, DENOSA believes it is senseless of the government to still see it fit to host the SONA physically and thus spend millions that could have come in handy in addressing this scourge which is depriving communities of essential personnel like nurses, as if there is something the attendees will be doing in that make-shift Parliament over and above fashion clothing they will be wearing. It is more of showcasing conspicuous consumption than anything else, in the sea of poverty.
To say DENOSA is disappointed would be an understatement.
DENOSA believes the government cannot act normally in an abnormal environment and atmosphere. We still hope that provincial governments will find it in their hearts to see how holding physical SOPAs at the time of high unemployment is nothing less of spitting in the face of each and every unemployed (but qualified) person and every patient who has to wait for eight hours in their provinces’ healthcare facilities.
Issued by the Democratic Nursing Organisation of South Africa (DENOSA).
For more information, contact:
Cassim Lekhoathi, DENOSA Acting General Secretary.
Mobile: 082 328 9671.
For further enquiries, contact Sibongiseni Delihlazo, DENOSA Spokesperson.
Mobile: 072 584 4175.
Tel: 012 343 2315.
Facebook: DENOSA National Page.