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DENOSA KZN cautions new Health MEC against formulating premature conclusions on the General Justice Gizenga Hospital incident 

Media statement

Monday, 10 June 2019 

The Democratic Nursing Organisation (DENOSA) in KwaZulu-Natal had a meeting with the new MEC of Health where we cautioned her and advised her to desist from making premature conclusions on the General Justice Gizenga Hospital (GJGMH) incident.

On 31 May, a pregnant patient experienced complications with her pregnancy a few hours before her delivery at a clinic and because the complication was affecting the unborn baby and that an urgent operation was required to rescue the baby, nurses had to transfer her to a nearest General Justice Gizenga Hospital. Because it was on a weekend and nurses were made to understand that only one ambulance was operating in the area and that a driver off duty had to be called in first, it took more than 2 hours for the ambulance to arrive at the clinic to ferry the patient.

Sadly, upon arrival at the hospital, it was a little too late and both the mother and the baby could not be saved. In response to the community members' anger over this incident, the MEC addressed the community and said nurses were negligent and that a tougher action will be taken.

DENOSA in KwaZulu-Natal condemns the action of the newly appointed MEC for Health, Nomagugu Simelane Zulu of addressing the community of Isithebe without gathering facts and getting the report from the staff and management about the incidence. But the MEC agreed in future not to be careless in making accusations against nurses before getting the facts and agreed to engage DENOSA going forward.

We view this as an act of inciting violence against the staff of Isithebe particularly nurses of which she has a responsibility to protect. Already, this has led to one of the nurses to be given special leave in fear of her safety.

DENOSA KwaZulu-Natal acknowledges the seriousness of the matter and understands the public outrage. However we must always be cautious not to have predetermined outcomes on the issue which may threaten the safety of our members.

We have information that there was a delay in the ambulance services because if you have fetal distress you only have 30 minutes to save the baby so the delay could have contributed in the death of the baby.

We are saddened by the loss of two lives of a 24 year old and her baby and would like to sincerely send our condolences to the family for their sad loss.

It is sad that three months ago a similar incident happened in the same area whereby there was a delay in ambulance services and the patient lost her life. After the initial incident, one would have expected the department to have corrected this to prevent its reoccurrence.

DENOSA would like to thank nurses who identified the need to transfer the patient while it was still fetal distress. However they were let down by the system that caused delays in transporting the patient to the hospital.

We further salute nurses who stood the whole night resuscitating this patient until early hours of Saturday the 1st of June 2019.

DENOSA KwaZulu-Natal supports fully the call for a post-mortem to identify the cause of death and include other contributory factors for appropriate action to be taken where necessary to prevent similar occurrences. This incident should also be used as an opportunity to identify gaps in the system and improve those gaps.

DENOSA KwaZulu-Natal is fully behind the nurses and support them in whatever they are going through due to this incidence.


Issued by DENOSA in KwaZulu-Natal


For more information, contact: 

Mandla Shabangu, DENOSA Provincial Secretary

Mobile: 071 643 3369