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Eastern Cape nurses march to Bhisho provincial health office 


DENOSA Eastern Cape led a nurses’ march to the Eastern Cape provincial department of Health in Bhisho demanding improvement in the working conditions of nurses in the province’s facilities.

Thousands of nurses converged outside Bhisho stadium from all corners of the province on 18 February from as early as 08h00 for a march that was scheduled to proceed at 11h00 to the provincial office a few kilometres away.

Nurses travelled to the march towards the centre of the province from as far areas as Bizana, Port Elizabeth, Lady Frere, Quenstown, Cradock, Willowvale, Elliotdale, Mthatha, Mt Ayliff and Ntabankulu.

By 13h00 the march, led by DENOSA 1st Deputy President, Thandeka Msibi, former DENOSA President Dorothy Matebeni, Provincial chairperson, Lulu Ntlebi and the rest of the provincial executive committee, joined by all regional leaders of the province.

Below is the memorandum that was handed over to the representative at the Bisho office:



18 February 2016

The Hounarable MEC & Head of Department Department of Health
Eastern Cape


We, the nurses of Eastern Cape come together today to express our dismay at the appalling working conditions, shortage of nursing staff, lack of working tools, poor nursing education system and non-consultation in decision making that affect nurses by the provincial department of health.


1. The appalling working conditions of nurses across the health institutions in the province.

2. The absence of working tools (resources)

3. The high patient incidents due to exhaustion of nurses.

4. The non-consultation of DENOSA is decision making on nursing matters.

5. The poor nursing education system.

6. The compromised up-skilling programmes for nurses.

7. The incompetence of Human Resources (HR) in dealing with nursing matters.

8. The undermining of collective agreements.

9. The ineffectiveness of provincial chamber.

We BELIEVE that:

1. Health is a basic human right that is enshrined in the constitution of the country.

2. The people of Eastern Cape are entitled to access of quality healthcare services.

3. Nursing is the backbone of health and the adequate staffing must remain top priority of the department.

4. The nurses must be on Continuous Professional Development (CPD) Programme to enhance their nursing skills to improve the quality nursing care.

5. The material resources must be made available to render quality nursing care.

6. The nursing matters must be handled at nursing division and not HR.

7. The new proposed organogram is not addressing the crisis of staffing the province is facing but it is only exacerbating the situation.

8. Staffing norms using WISN is not suitable for our province.

9. There is a social distance between the department and nurses.

10. The infrastructure of nursing education is poor.

11. The students are better off on persal system than the bursary system.

12. Bargaining council is the statutory structure that is taking the binding resolutions.

We Therefore DEMAND that:

1. There must be an establishment of Nursing Directorate with fully fledged nursing staff that will take care of nursing matters including the working conditions and benefits. This directorate will carry and implement nurses’ mandates.

2. The working conditions must be improved in the healthcare institutions according to the standards of Operation PHAKISA – Ideal Clinic as adopted by the national department. The nurses must work under safe environment.

3. The people of Eastern Cape must receive the quality nursing care in respect to the human rights.

4. The proposed new organogram must be stopped with immediate effect and the status quo must remain. The nurses of Eastern Cape are rejecting the organogram with the contempt it deserves.

5. The implementation of WISN (Staffing Norms) must be stopped with immediate effect. WISN method is not suitable for the burden of diseases for our province. The status quo for staffing must remain.

6. PSCBC Resolution 1 of 2007 (filling up of funded vacant posts) must be implemented with immediate effect.

7. The students must have conducive learning environment (accommodation and classrooms).

8. The students must have clinical facilitators for permanent accompaniment to the clinical areas.

9. The bursary system must be abolished and replaced by persal system.

10. The nurses must be on continuous skills development to improve their nursing skills without a failure of the department due to shortage of staff.

11. There must be quarterly provincial meetings between the department and DENOSA (and not organized labour) to deliberate on nursing matters in closing the social distance.

12. The department must comply with all collective agreements to minimize labour disputes.