DENOSA Limpopo held Provincial Learner Movement congress from 2 to 3 July at the Bolivia Lodge in Polokwane where new leadership was elected.
More than 60 student nurses from Limpopo College of Nursing’s different campuses attended. Guests at the congress included former DENOSA President, Ephraim Mafalo, COSATU Provincial Secretary, Mkhomazi Twala, DENOSA Deputy General Secretary, Kwena Manamela, interim convener of COSATU Young Workers Forum in Limpopo, Morongwa Mothiba, and DENOSA National Learner Movement Secretary, Nkululeko Mapaila.
Delivering keynote address on the history of the organisation, former DENOSA President, Ephraim Mafalo, urged students to be witty. “If you want to change the nursing education, how do you want to do that? What is it that is not working with it, you must identify that. In 2011 we said we want Chief Nursing Officer. Now you have Chief Nursing Officer, are you happy with the Chief Nursing Officer? Also if a politician says: “We don’t want a highly educated nurse, what do you say? It’s something that you must think about.”
Interim convener of COSATU Young Workers Forum in Limpopo, Morongwa Mothiba, called on young people to stand their ground and fight for their cause, and implement the resolutions of DENOSA national. “It cannot be correct that young people beg for job in traffic intersections, and that nurses themselves must deal with that challenge head on. ‘It would strange if a union of a different sector to fight exorbitant costs that are charged by private nursing colleges, even on courses that have already phased out by the regulatory body for nursing, when nurses are here. Let us build a strong DENOSA. Let us build a strong COSATU. Sishoda ngawe.”
DENOSA National Learner Movement Secretary, Nkululeko Mapaila, called for the total rejection of the bursary system from nursing education. He also called for members of DENOSA Learner Movement to be part of the Progressive Youth Alliance (PYA), by joining them so that they sharpen their class consciesness. “DENOSA Learner Movement is a preparatory school of DENOSA. It has produced the finest of DENOSA leaders, such as the current DENOSA President, Simon Hlungwani.”
Delivering his political report to the congress, Provincial chairperson of Learner Movement, Madida Malatji, warned students to be vigilant in the province of a culture of not absorbing community service nurses in provinces like Free State and North West. “As the province we are fortunate in that all our community service nurses are placed. We are also fortunate that we still have the PERSAL system in the province. In other provinces, the bursary system is causing chaos.
He appreciated the efforts taken by the Limpopo College of Nursing for opening up of two new campuses – Waterberg and Sekhukhune campuses. “But we are disappointed that Sekhukhune campus was burnt down because of service delivery protest. It was traumatising to see parents burning down the future of their children. How do you burn an institution that is supposed to produce the very same nurses? This culture has brought down Vuwani, where 26 schools were burnt down, and the costs of rebuilding those schools are massive. The Department of Basic Education says it costs at R30 million to build one school. You can only imagine how much money it will cost to rebuild 26 schools! There is a real need for mental status examination on those who burn our schools.” We are happy that the SRC and DENOSA Learner Movement leaders have agreed on a coalition where both parties work closely together to resolve the challenges of students at the college without any conflict. Ours is a total commitment to tacking the challenges of students,” he said, urging students to go to communities and discourage the culture of burning schools.
Provincial Learner Movement Secretary, Promise Motalaota, lashed out at the conditions that student nurses live under at nurses homes and residents. ‘Most places at institutions where nurses stay, those places are considered slums, by law. Yet nurses are expected to take care of the frail but they are not cared for.” He said Limpopo is one of the provinces where policies are not followed in terms of community service. “The same group of students doing the same year of study, but placed at different institutions for the same experience earn different stipends. This is unfortunate and I happen to be one of the victims.”
On second day the congress went for four break-away commission discussions, namely nursing education, organisational development, socio-economic and political. It also elected the new leadership. The new leadership elected is: Chairperson, Lerato Malatjie, Deputy Chairperson is Matamba Avhashoni, Secretary is Lebogang Makoana, Deputy Secretary is Easy Matlala, and Organiser is Lina Lekgeu.
The congress adopted the declaration, which is as follows:
DENOSA LIMPOPO STUDENT MOVEMENT 5TH PROVINCIAL CONGRESS DECLARATIONS
Provincial Student Movement Congress held at Bolivia Lodge, Polokwane 2-3 July 2016, came up with the following declarations
We, the 61 delegates from five campuses in the Limpopo college of Nursing i.e Giyani, Sekhukhune, Sovenga, Thohoyandou and Waterberg gathered at DENOSA student movement Limpopo 5th provincial congress, speaking with one unified voice.
The students have spoken and DSM, their organisation has listened. We are meeting when our country is facing serious challenges of racism and various community unrests. As DSM we condemn any form of violence and burning of schools in our communities.
We as the congress declare that; on nursing education we have observed that the, students are terminated at the college when they fail twice during their training, that there is a change of exam results from pass to fail/supplementary and the contradiction between SANC and Limpopo College of Nursing when it comes to admission requirements.
As the congress we believe that learning is a constitutional right that should be respected and treated as such, the changing of results affects students psychologically and emotionally and we further believe that all the students irrespective of their subjects be accepted to the college. The congress is appealing to the department that students in all levels should not be terminated at the college they rather suspend their stipend, we also appeal to the college management to do quality check before they could publish the results to ensure that results are not changed after publishing and the college must go back to basics and only consider English as the main language for admission.
On organisational development, the congress declared that; on membership growth the congress has noted membership deterioration, the community Service members not paying monthly subscription due to change of pay point, the organisation not being visible to the entire membership, the congress also identified the issue of dual membership.
The congress believes that DENOSA is the only organisation for the nurses and has got a potential to grow membership and retain membership, we there for need to intensify our recruitment strategies and serving of members, the congresses also demand the formation of DSM in the universities and negotiate to incorporate university students into persal system and further request the office to develop a notification system that can remind members about their membership status and DENOSA need to provide awards for best performers both academically and leadership wise. The congress further demand adequate training of leadership to ensure capacity, we also encourage our members to belong to one union.
On socio-economic, the congress noted the developments within nursing education due to migration of nursing education from department of Health to tertiary institution which will change from persal to stipend, we also noted that uniform is one of the SANC requirements in nursing education, hence the students are required to be in full uniform when they are on practical area. We believe that stipend is still relevant as most of the students come from disadvantaged background; we further demand that students should be provided with uniform allowance.
On politics, we have observed sporadic violent protests in Limpopo Province, we are of a view that these protests are politically motivated and some are influenced by tribalism and by unfair decision making by government and community members. As the congress we appeal to all the stakeholders to get involved in decision making and we condemn all kinds of violence as the organisation. We also noted the corrupt activities occurring across SA, tenders not awarded properly, nepotism and bribery in all government institutions. We believe that corruption is robbing our country a quality service delivery and it only benefits few and damage our economy, it also contribute to political instability. We there for demand that corrupt individual should be punished accordingly and also believes that the principles of NDR should be applied. We also demand that there should be effective monitoring and evaluation system.
We also noted the date for LGE which is the 3rd of August 2016 as announced by the president, we hope that all eligible voters have registered and all the voting station are accessible, as the organisation we shall encourage young people to vote in numbers and vote for the ANC.