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DENOSA response to President Ramaphosa’s maiden SONA, especially on health commitments 

Media statement  

Monday, 19 February 2018 

The Democratic Nursing Organisation of South Africa (DENOSA) notes the maiden State of the Nation Address by President Cyril Ramaphosa that he delivered on a Friday under a calm environment for the first time in a very long time. 

DENOSA particularly notes the undertaking made by the president on the health front, particularly the need to realise Universal Health Coverage (UHC) for all South Africans in the form of the National Health Insurance (NHI), whose Bill will be tabled in Parliament soon. 

DENOSA is hopeful that, after many years of undertaking by former President during SONAs, President Ramaphosa will be able to make follow-up on the commitments he has made of visiting state institutions, talking to heads about the need to accelerate service delivery. DENOSA urges the President to seriously look at the underlying causes of what is slowly becoming poor service delivery – the absence of or broken tools of trade and shortage of staff and shortage of critical equipment in the case of health facilities. These are some of the issues we had raised to him during our 20th anniversary celebrations in Pretoria on 5 December 2016. 

We had remained hopeful that his predecessor, former President Jacob Zuma, would live by his words of the 2011 SONA where he undertook to revitalize and refurbish 201 previously closed nursing colleges nation-wide. Not a single college had opened until he left office. And the health demands, in the meantime, are on the increase due to growing population figures as well as increase in the number of immigrants that come to South Africa for greener pastures. DENOSA’s concern is that these are not matched by any plan to increase the intake of nursing students so that queues in health facilities could not become longer by the day as they are currently. 

While it is a good and commendable move that government will be committing to increasing the initiation of HIV positive people into the country’s Anti-Retroviral Treatment (ART) by 2 million in the next two years to a total of 5 million by year 2020, DENOSA is highly concerned that this ambition is not matched by a slight increase in the intake of students to do nursing so that overtime shortage of nurses in facilities is addressed. DENOSA warns that the country could be a victim of its own success in that increasing patients into ART without hiring more nurses will lead to high default rate, because many patients are turned away in many clinics due to long queues and the fact that there are few nurses. 

We hope the President will look into this matter so that it is not business as usual, as have been the case over the years. 

Nurses’s shouts of #ThumaMina (SendMe) are overshadowed by this severe shortage of nurses and equipment in our health facilities. NHI will still need more nurses, which we are not increasing the intake of their production today. This will catch the country badly if President is not looking into it. That is why DENOSA is hopeful that this area will be looked into by Finance Minister in his budget speech on Wednesday. 


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

For more information, contact:

Cassim Lekhoathi, DENOSA Acting General Secretary 

Mobile: 082 328 9671 


Sibongiseni Delihlazo, DENOSA Communications Manager

Mobile: 072 584 4175 


Facebook: DENOSA National Page