Dept: Nurses must work or be fired

2012-03-10 19:00

Johannesburg - Nursing staff who abandoned their posts at the Nelson Mandela Academic Hospital in Mthatha have a day to return to work, the Eastern Cape health department said on Saturday.

"The nurses have until tomorrow [Sunday] to report to work or they will be fired," said spokesperson Sizwe Kupelo.

The nurses abandoned their posts on Friday night, after holding two hospital managers hostage over the night duty allowance.

The nurses, who were not armed, locked them in a boardroom at around 11:00.

Managers locked in boardroom

Kupelo said a list of nurses qualifying for the allowance had been submitted, but had to be re-submitted when it was found to contain mistakes.

"It was detected that the list was fraudulent. There were names of people who were on leave at the time," he said.

He said when nurses were told in a meeting that they would not be paid by Monday, they got angry and locked two managers in a boardroom.

Another group went to wards and ordered nurses out to attend a meeting.

"Nurses who were reporting for night duty were ordered out, leaving patients without nurses."

He said nurses abandoned their posts except those in the maternity ward and intensive care unit.

"Today [Saturday] as we speak, all nurses have reported for work including those who are on night shift, we suspect their intention is not to work the night shift," he said.

He said labour union National Education, Health and Allied Union was holding a meeting with the nurses on Saturday, to warn them about the danger of their "wildcat" strike.

Patients transferred

"Administratively we are issuing out notices that nurses must return by Sunday or risk being fired," said Kupelo.

He said one patient was transferred to an East London hospital on Friday night. Other patients were being taken back to the hospitals which had referred them to the Nelson Mandela Academic Hospital for specialised care.

"What we do not want is for people to die... we hope the meeting will come with a solution."

Kupelo said departmental officials from Bisho had been sent to the hospital in a bid to manage the problem.

  • Sizwe - 2012-03-10 19:22

    The solution is simple, pay those worked and pay on time and nurses will not act in this manner! Mr Kupelo you would not go to a petrol station fill up your car and then hold a meeting with the owner(s) about whether you should pay or not. So please pay the staff and let it go!!

      johnvusip - 2012-03-10 22:06

      There are channels to resolve issues. The night duty allowance is not a salary.

      Francois - 2012-03-10 22:28

      Johnvusip, they are (except for hostage taking) using the channels-which is an illegal strike. Now the EC Health department has a real dilemma, they must fire these nurses (if it was my choice I would have). The problem is that they don't have anybody to replace them with! Thus by bad management over the years, the Management of EC Health has disempowered itself. The first instance of a nurse not doing her or his work should have been dealth with along the proper channels, but cadres don't work like that as they were afraid that they will be tainted like the apartheid managers who managed discipline. Discipline does not equal apartheid and discipline does not equal punishment necessarily, but you need to have it. Ask Motshekga who was chased away from that organised chaos in the EC's education. What can she do? Nothing as everyone can say to her when you had to do your job in Gauteng's Education department, you were dancing outside a court where Zuma's case was heard and Zuma can say nothing to Motshekga as he danced outside the court and called for a machine gun!

  • Cracker - 2012-03-10 19:25

    Those responsible for restricting the freedom of the managers, GO STRAIGHT TO JAIL. NO MATTER WHAT. DON'T HIDE BEHIND PERSONAL OR FAMILY RESPONSIBILITIES. TO JAIL YOU GO. Will the police do the necessary to put them in jail? Hostage taking is EVIL. The ANC may not be everybody's cup or tea but if they start using their powers (influence) effectively to crush the undisciplined conduct of the workers AND their always apologetic and excuse-seeking trade unions, we might see some REAL respect for the ANC developing. Also among its opponents.

      Mtshezi Yonk'insipho Iyawasha Mkhize - 2012-03-10 19:53

      Cracker nobody cares what u think, Hehehehehe! Honestly...

      Cracker - 2012-03-10 20:07

      Who cares? You clearly do. LOL

      Cracker - 2012-03-10 20:15

      @ Mtshezi... The fact that you had to re-enforce your statement with an assurance of how honest you are.... LOL

  • Matthew Patrick - 2012-03-10 19:38

    One of the major problems with government hospitals is the lack of effective management. People need to be supervised and properly monitored at work or human nature takes over.

  • Cracker - 2012-03-10 19:38

    @ Sizwe-wa-Pele Do you dispute the allegation that the info for payment was false? One again we get to a simple proposition. The technology now exists to verify the allegations of work done. If the nurses and their trade unions do no object the technology can be implemented. Then the Dept will know what has been going on. In the meanwhile you either act as a decent nurse or you bugger off. Time for excuses and begging people to do their jobs properly must surely end. Meanwhile, hostage taking is a crime. Lock the hostage takers up. To show any tolerance with regard to the criminal element in all this will simply send out the wrong message and encourage similar conduct all over. This country really needs a HUGE wake up. We can't carry on placating unacceptable behavior.

  • Karmah - 2012-03-10 19:42

    Good fire them all. They took an OATH to care for people. No matter what you do not abandon people who are in need of medical care ffs. I don;t care who you are. You decided to be a nurse or a Dr, Youtook that OATH, YOU MADE A PROMISE!

      Nonku Butelezi - 2012-03-10 22:35

      My mother is a nursing sister in the icu

  • Johan Grobbelaar - 2012-03-10 19:43


  • Lungile Sommeya Bedi - 2012-03-10 19:50

    its a very simple case this, i dont even think it should be put on publicity like this. Nurses like every employee has a timesheet, if they were on duty that night then they should get PAID!simple as that. Why must we drive each other to a point of acting in a corrupt and uncivilised way is beyond my understanding

      Cracker - 2012-03-10 20:21

      @ Lungile... Nothing wrong with requiring ANYBODY of ANY profession on duty to simply at fixed periods press a simple finger thumb recogniser during their hours of duty. What we see here are not the actions of honest nurses. Other workers stayed on duty and were chased out and intimidated according to reports.

      marcanthonytaylor - 2012-03-10 23:03

      Every patient has a right (a constitutional one.....the worth of the constitution at the moment is another debate.) to basic primary health care. I assure you that the vast majority of patients in government hospitals don't have the luxury of a job to go to to clock in and out. Further more, we are responsible for our actions whether you or anyone else likes that or not, it is a fact of civilization. These carbon-based life-forms made their decisions all on their own. NO ONE threatened them with a leaking cath bag, I can promise you that much. I cannot speculate on why they acted in a corrupt or uncivilized manner. Although, if it looks like a duck, if it quacks like a duck and is delicious when served with orange sauce, then honey its a duck.... therefor and thusly they are corrupt and displayed by their behaviour. You're right, it is simple.

  • Irene - 2012-03-10 20:00

    Fire the lot of them. Filthy pondscum to behave like this.

  • Shirley Van Heerden - 2012-03-10 20:15

    I am a registered nurse. I have bunions and corns and vericose veins, back injuries as well due to lifting, carrying sick, lame, drunk and ungratefull swearing people 40 hours a week. Yet I receive the salary of a senior secretary!!! Is it wrong to fight and fight and fight and be ignored year in and year out! Nurses do care, but we do have families. We have homes and we are also effected by the petrol price. Everyone has the right to strike, why are we excluded? Put yourself in the shoes of the fat lazy inept persons wiping the vomit from your drunk mouth to prevent you from choking to death!!!!

      Cracker - 2012-03-10 20:26

      Find another job and don't exaggerate. I can tell you now that you do not everyday have to wipe up the vomit of drunks. Too many reports going around of how useless the nurses in this country are. Bad luck but it is the truth.

      Adil Smit - 2012-03-10 20:30

      Nurses in this country get paid very little and they work very hard. A nursing sister on her salary cannot afford to have a child,a car and pay for a house. There is an acute shortage of nurses in the country. Next time you go to hospital, say thank you to the nurses that take care of you, they're certainly not doing it for the money.

      Cracker - 2012-03-10 20:33

      I do not recall that my visits to hospitals were filled with observations of the types of patients that you describe. What took place at the hospital in question was not a legitimate strike for higher wages. It was hostage taking and bullying - the latter apparently an inherent characteristic of modern nurses in this country. We have far too many generalized lies in this country. The so-called hard workers and sufferers. Crap! What about the sick? The helpless ones? Time for some REAL honesty and less BS.

      Adil Smit - 2012-03-10 20:39

      Cracker, why don't you go and volunteer at a busy casualty unit at a big state hospital for a month?

      Cracker - 2012-03-10 20:46

      @ Adile Smit Glad you bring it up. We are not talking about the same environment here. The nurses involved were not employed in the same environment that you refer to. As for claiming salary increases, that't not what this is about. I am convinced that the nurses involved are not honest. If, on an outside chance, they were and the process failed them, then fire the whole lot responsible. As for HOSTAGE TAKING, jail and fire those responsible. The nurses involved here are clearly the lazy night shift variety.

      Shirley Van Heerden - 2012-03-10 20:54

      I am first of all a Christian, second of a nurse. I feel ashamed for some of my peers action, but Cracker, you judge quite easily. Not all nurses are bad, at least give honour and thanks where it is due. Chances are very well that somewhere a GOOD NURSE made a possitive contribution to your life. Put down the stones and let us give out roses to those who do it for the love of it- I am!!!

      Cracker - 2012-03-10 21:06

      @ Shirley... NO. I do not judge all nurses the same. I am saying simply that BS must stop. Our nurses are mainly the modern ones. I don't have it against the noble ones.

      Fatimah Mavuso - 2012-03-10 22:17

      The nursng profession is undrmined n always wl b.wht those nurses dd ws unprofessional bt im sure it wsn't the 1st tym they grievd.

  • Kusleg - 2012-03-10 20:19

    A unionized work environment always throws commitment out through the window. When a doctor/ nurse decides to down tools, it beats me all systems out. This is an essential service where passion, self dedication and internal motivation rules supreme. Even sangomas never behave this way. These kind of strikes must be deemed illegal and condemned in the strongest manner possible.

  • mike.clery - 2012-03-10 20:29

    I doubt that these nurses would have behaved this way if this was the first time they'd been given the runaround by administrators. But the fact is that their behaviour was extremely unprofessional and the strike was illegal. Taking someone hostage is against the law period. Those responsible must be charged, and then let the courts decide their punishment based on the circumstances. Anything less is condoning anarchy.

      Shirley Van Heerden - 2012-03-10 20:38

      I agree Mike. I would never strike-it is against my christian principles and I made an oath- to me it is biding. It is time that the professions that keep the wheels of this country going- Education, Health, Protection, Law and order be paid for what they are worth. Stop taking us for granted!

      mike.clery - 2012-03-10 21:03

      I certainly agree that *professional* nurses, teachers and policemen/woman are undervalued and should be paid a lot more given their responsibilities. Nurses and police even more so because of their working conditions. But unprofessional behaviour is just going to result in them being further undervalued. People in these professions should be the ones coming down really hard on this because it's affecting them negatively.

  • Adil Smit - 2012-03-10 20:37

    Before anyone here criticise nurses, stand in their shoes first. They have stressful jobs, work long hours, earn very little money and are often treated unfairly. There is an acute shortage of nurses in the country and when tere's no-one to do a shift they often just get told to do it. They are also human beings, that needs time with their families and sometimes time off. So when you go to hospital, appreciate the nurses that help you and take care of you because they're not doing it for the money.

      Cracker - 2012-03-10 21:14

      There is a lot of BS going on. How do I know it? Just listen to what is reported so regularly. I am actually trying to see myself in the shoes of a nurse. I never had an inclination to be a nurse of medical worker. BUT I simply can't imagine leaving sick persons (or our sick animals) at their own mercy. I just can't. Payment of night shift or not. Now if I as an individual is not up to it, notwhithstanding that I never experienced a calling for the type of work the nurses are involved in, am I justified in asking what kind of rubbish material the nurses must be?

  • Tanie - 2012-03-10 21:19

    The stupid managers, some of them are in position because of nepotism, they must either do their job or bugger-off. We have more than enough Nurses who left the country because of such arrogance from the Managers. They should know who is on duty or on annual leave because they are the ones who are drafting the duty list.Tell me then, who made the list fraudulent? Nurses or managers? BLOODY INCOMPETENT I TELL YOU.

  • Mel - 2012-03-10 21:28

    Sheeet even nurses are feral in SA.

  • bernardandrew.ndlovu - 2012-03-10 21:30

    Inocent patients are sufeirng now

  • Cracker - 2012-03-10 21:47

    The truth is that we see the same mentality by nurses during the annual trade union strikes. What more excuses do we have to be entertained with to hide the REAL truth? If you are not a nurse in your heart and bones, bugger of. You are a saboteur of the health and well-being of others and the new proposed NHI.

  • Fatimah Mavuso - 2012-03-10 22:06

    Weh! kshubile la

  • marcanthonytaylor - 2012-03-10 22:44

    They are not nurses.

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