'We are not slaves' - KZN nurses call for health MEC to be axed

2018-07-18 15:23

"We are nurses, not slaves," disgruntled nurse Bongekile Khomo has told GroundUp.

"I have to take care of 60 patients in one ward. We work under bad conditions in hospitals. Most of the time there are no resources."

Khomo was one of hundreds of nurses from across KwaZulu-Natal who marched to the provincial legislature in Pietermaritzburg on Monday. They want Health MEC Sibongiseni Dhlomo to be removed, GroundUp reported.


Hundreds of nurses from across KwaZulu-Natal marched to the provincial legislature deamanding better working conditions. (Nompendulo Ngubane, GroundUp)

"Can we get a MEC who knows what he is doing?" asked Khomo. "This is the third march this year. We are short-staffed and overworked."

Read: KZN health dept denies DA claims that hospitals are going under national administration

Most of the nurses who marched from Alexandra Park to the legislature are part of the KwaZulu-Natal United Nurses Forum. Placards read: "Rest in Peace Dhlomo" and "Dhlomo must fall".

KwaZulu-Natal United Nurses Forum organiser Bhekithemba Gumbi said: "We have instances where nurses are being attacked by the relatives of the patients. People think nurses are lazy or incompetent. That is not true… The community fights with nurses, accusing them of being negligent. That is because nurses are short-staffed in health institutions."

"The department introduced a shared task policy," said nurse Mluleki Shezi.

"We should be paid for that… A nurse will spend hours interpreting for a doctor [who does not speak Zulu]. That time should be spent on attending patients, not interpreting… The ones working in rural areas are suffering the most. We are tired. They have two weeks to attend to our matters. If they don’t report back to us, we will shut down all the hospitals."

Also read: ‘We want DHLOMO GONE’- KZN nurses

Zithembiso Nzuza accepted the memorandum on behalf of the speaker of the provincial legislature. Nzuza said they were aware that a memorandum had been handed over to the office of the premier in May.

"The legislature monitors how government works. We followed up that the memorandum was received by the office of the premier. It was reported that the premier tasked the department to attend to the issues," said Nzuza.

KwaZulu-Natal Department of Health spokesperson Ncumisa Mafunda said: "The department has established procedures in place that need to be followed regarding internal matters that are between employer and employee. Furthermore, the department has a good working relationship with official labour unions."

Read more on:    pietermaritzburg  |  health

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