POLITICAL INPUT BY DENOSA PRESIDENT SIMON HLUNGWANI AT THE CENTRAL EXECUTIVE COMMITTEE (CEC) FEBRUARY 2018
ARCADIA HOTEL, PRETORIA
21 FEBRUARY 2018
First Deputy President, Cde Modise Letsatsi
Second Deputy President, Cde Thandeka Msibi
National Treasurer, Cde Mosidi Nkambule
Acting General Secretary, Cde Cassim Lekhoathi
Acting Deputy General Secretary, Cde Kwena Manamela
Members of the National Executive Committee
Members of Provincial Executive committees
Former Leaders of DENOSA, Cde Mafalo, Cde Matebeni 7 Cde Makhombe
The 1st Deputy President of our Federation, COSATU Cde James Tjotjo
Representative of the SACP, who has already left
Our strategic partners
Staff of DENOSA
Let me take this opportunity to welcome you all to our second CEC of DENOSA and the only one for the term office of this leadership since our election in 2014 in Birchwood.
We are meeting under the theme:
“Strengthening unity and cohesion in the organisation for optimal member servicing”
The CEC takes place as we begun the year declared by the ANC as the year of 100 years of Nelson Mandela: the year of renewal, unity and jobs.
The year that follows the year of the 54th National Congress of the ANC; the 14th National Congress of the Party (SACP) and the 6th Central Committee of COSATU.
It is important that the CEC honours Madiba by reflecting honestly on the progress of DENOSA or lack thereof since the 7th National Congress. We are called upon to make this assessment of the work done during this term, to identify difficult arears that we traversed, but most importantly to define way forward that will assist our organisation to grow.
As we all know that 2017 was a busy year indeed, this year looks even busier than last year. COSATU is going to hold its National Congress this year. We are also going to hold Provincial Congresses and Our National Congress.
There are memorable activities that we pulled through in this term that includes amongst others, the march to the NDoH and SANC in 2017; who will forget the remarkable 20 years celebration that we held in 2016, the 3rd Nurses Conference held in 2016.
We may recall that the 7th national congress of DENOSA resolved on the matter of constitutional amendments, that after the completion of the research that we commissioned to look at the merits and demerits of election versus appoints of Secretaries, we must hold a Special National Congress to finalise the Constitutional amendments.
It is important that the CEC draws its attention to issues that bedevilled the alliance as a whole in recent years. Issues that have led to the rupture of the alliance that have proven to yield negative results for our movement, such as institutionalised factions within the alliance, a phenomenon that weakened the movement and evidenced by the loss of electorates during the 2016 Local Government Elections.
This phenomenon is like the kamakaze pilot, it is always ready to detonate, the problem being that when the whole organisation is blown, it become stationed in a paralysis state. Something that no one should wish for a valuable organisation like ours. It is common course that towards any congress, there is mobilisation towards a particular course. It has been acknowledged by the DENOSA NEC that we did not demobilise after the congress held in 2014, thus factions wanting to show power over others at the expense the organisation. The organisation took a knock as a ripple effect of factions rendering it semi-paralysed at some stage, therefore slow progress as evidenced by some structures not finishing their intended business on time. Factions in their nature has a potential to survive through wrong means, such as the decanting of patronage.
The last National Congress resolved that DENOSA must continue to support the ANC, including during the Local Government Elections in 2016 as well to support COSATU campaigns on the banning of E-tol and Labour brokering. Same was done through participation in COSATU structures and programmes, the latest being the National Strike held on the 27th September 2017.
With the 2019 general elections looming, let us take a challenge of ensuring that we influence the ANC manifesto to include what we want reflected sharply. The other debate that we need to have is the interrogation of the resolution of the party to challenge state power, we must also analyse if the election of Cde Cyril Ramaphosa will have an impact on the posture of the party with regard to state power.
The opposition parties were left shocked by the seamless transition within the 5th parliament of South Africa, and resorted to calling early elections, as a means to catch the governing party off-guard (catch them while not ready)
With the fourth industrial revolution steadfast into the future, we must be seen to be making efforts to adjust as a profession, most importantly as an organisation in order for the country not to leg behind.
A critical account of the history of nursing in South Africa as explored and clearly narrated by Shula Marks in 1994 in her book “Divided sisterhood” should inform our discussion in this CEC with regard to the challenges that the profession faces to date. Although this history relates to predominantly the apartheid time, it is clear that even now the nursing profession is fragmented and with incoherent soft voices that do not form any rhythm that could benefit the profession. The divisions are no longer racial or ethnically, however they are too loud to be ignored by any conscious profession loving individual. I therefore challenge the CEC to find solutions that will help us traverse these problems going forward.
We are currently in the negotiation period for Public sector and Netcare, I would think it is important for the CEC to reflect on these developments and give concrete mandate as to what would be best for our members and the working class in general.
The performance of the Economy of our country places a huge burden on the working class. Fortunately the transition was seamless from the governing party, the ANC. We do hope that the new trajectory will assist in the economic recovery that can lead us to growing our economy to more than the 1%, to be way better than what we have seen since 2008. Youth unemployment keeps rising where it is currently more than 50%, a recipe for a crises such as civil disobedience.
DENOSA must strengthen its efforts to be a strong voice for Nurses in the country. For us to achieve this, we must be a strong organisation and to be a strong organisation requires a united leadership, which means we must address disunity and dissonance. It will require serious commitment from all of us.
Part of what we have noted as a grey area within our organisation is the area of policies. The NEC realised that we do not have or we have outdated policies, and the following are just examples:
- Honorarium (stipend) policy
- Conflict of interest policy
- Risk and internal audits policy
- Performance management policy
- Human resources policy
- Supply chain policy
- Motor vehicle policy
- Procurement policy, where there should be a clear outline of the processes of Bid Evaluation and Bid Adjudication
A book on policies is part of documents for this CEC, I urge all delegates to enrich that document and chant a way forward to strengthen systems of our organisation.
The regional politics of Africa has been very interesting in recent years. We have seen slave trades in Lybia. Kenyan election and re-election that threatened stability in that country, nearly led to civil war. I have to admit that the soft Coop in Zimbabwe really scared me so much that I feared that there would have been a risk of civil war that would have rendered the Sub-Saharan Africa unstable as a whole.
We have seen the BreXit in Europe, the Trumpism in the USA that have seen us been ridiculed as a continent of S***hole that should not be allowed to enter the USA.
DENOSA continues to play a pivotal role at an international front through the structures that we are affiliated to, namely the International Council of Nurses (ICN), Commonwealth Nurses and Midwives Conference (CNMF), Eastern Central and Southern African Confederation of Nurses and Midwives (ECSACON) and the Southern Africa Network of Nurses and Midwives (SANNAM). BRICS nursing forum
The international section of the organisational report further explains the work that we do continuously.
Having been part of the team that worked on the International Nurses Day publication (IND) for 2018. I would like to raise a fundamental issue of nurse’s response to international work. Only one Nurse, fortunately is a Regional leader responded to a call for case studies to inform the IND 2018. But safe to say the work resulted in having the following theme, which will be launched on the 27th of this month:
NURSES: A VOICE TO LEAD, HEALTH IS A HUMAN RIGHT
I was also impressed by the participation of the Western Cape Nurses in attendance of the ICN conference in Barcelona last year. Around 32 nurses attended from one institution and I think we can ask Cde Chairperson of that province to help us conceptualise in this CEC on how to increase our participation by all other provinces.
The new curriculum for nursing education in South Africa is taking a new shape with the wish to start in 2019. We vehemently oppose the stance that the Minister of Health has taken of enjoying being a media darling for no reason, appearing like a populist that is always commenting rhetorically while denting the image of our profession. Worse was when the Minister blamed the comprehensive qualification that was started in 1986 as a problem for the current challenges, thus shifting the blame of systemic health failures on a cohod of nurses. We must come out of the CEC denouncing the negative attitude and posture of the minister towards nurses in this country. We should push the integration of the indigenous knowledge into the training of nurses.
The nursing strategy is under review at the moment, DENOSA has been invited to make meaningful inputs in that process. We could use this CEC to shape same.
The term of office for the Nursing Council is coming to an end in May this year, the request for nominations closed in January. We have made nomination as DENOSA as well. It is important that we influence change in that council.
We continuously experience challenges with regard to the health system in the country such as experienced by Community Services Nurses in our country, placement and so on; and Life Esidimeni, shortage of medication, non-safe working environment and many others.
COSATU resolution on the international affiliation requires us to discuss the matter of WAFTU versus ITUC. Most professional unions in COSATU are having a challenge with affiliating to WAFTU. Luckily the COSATU Congress resolution has room for referring the matter back to the coming National Congress if it is difficult to implement. The COSATU CEC agreed on referring the mater back to the NC.
The minimum wage in South Africa will be implemented from this year. The CEC should take a discussion on this matter, we should factor in the living wage angle as well.
Free higher education for a particular income bend is implemented this year by the government, this comes at a critical time where the working class in our country are going to feel a relief to that effect.
We need to do more on leadership development. Leaders of DENOSA should be capacitated in areas of high interest such as Academic, Management, Research and Executive leadership. Create a deliberate programme of capacitation and stick to it.
Aristotle defines Dialectical reasoning as a process of arriving at truth through a process of comparing and contrasting various solutions. We should use this process as advanced by Hegel through his work to ensure that the best interest of DENOSA is upheld at all times.
We are here to find innovative ways to secure adequate material resources in order to facilitate competitiveness. To build cohesion in our efforts. If we are a strategic centre of nursing politics, we should ensure a seamless process while protecting the integrity of our processes.
In all the discussions we will have here, let us be mindful of the fact that DENOSA remains the only hope for many nurses in our country.
Therefore we should be hard on our opinions, and critically examine our thoughts. Identify our biases and prejudices. Asses our privileges. Acknowledge our own nuance. Argue one point using different sets of assumptions. Avoid generating false dichotomies and lastly, humble ourselves.
The character of DENOSA leadership should be clear and distinct, easy to orientate any new member. We should have a mechanism to define the character DENOSA leadership for ease of reference.
Lastly, let me put this clear. I am the president of DENOSA as elected in the 7th national congress. I have no choice but to relate with everyone including those who didn’t support us during elections. Similarly, you also have no choice but to relate with us as leadership. Please accord us the respect we deserve.
I therefore urge that we engage robustly in solution based discussion. May we have a fruitful meeting.
I thank you
Person non grata