Byline: Kelebogile Masemola

13 May 2022

As the globe celebrated International Nurses Day, the Youth Nurses Indaba Trade Union (YNITU) boycotted the commemoration reiterating that there was nothing in South Africa to commemorate.

The union on Thursday, 12 May 2022, marched to the offices of South African Nursing Council (SANC) in Pretoria as part of its cry for nurses to boycott International Nurses Day.

The YNITU called for all nurses to boycott the celebrations as the profession was under attack.

The office bearer of the YNITU, Ramaano Mulatedzi said they wanted to use the day to highlight the challenges faced by nurses in the country.

“The education, training and development of nurses has reached a halt, for five years the South African Nursing Council (SANC) and the Council for Higher Education had failed to come up with a progressive programme that will allow nurses to advance their careers.

“They are still saying that they need more time to come up with sufficient detail in scope and depth to address the articulation of a four year diploma and a one year diploma in midwifery,” said Mulatedzi.

YNITU accused SANC of failing to come up with a progressive way to allow nurses to advance their nursing careers since nursing education was moved to the Department of Higher Education and training in 2018.

Mulatedzi said the union requested that the SANC should put an end to regulating the education and training of nurses in South Africa and leave it up to the Council on Higher Education (CHE).  

“There are still a lot of other qualifications that, to date, SANC has never recognised that people have gone out of their way to study.

“They don’t appear anywhere in the regulations of SANC, for example, a master’s degree, at no point has SANC recognized the qualification,” Mulatedzi said.

The YNITU said its members were justifiably frustrated about the failure of the SANC to play its role in training and up skilling nurses in South Africa.

It said they were boycotting International Nurses Day celebrations because nurses were forced to work under difficult conditions, both in the public and private sectors.

“We know the situation in the wards in which we are stationed, there is a shortage of resources which would enhance our satisfactory performance at our work and the patient-nurse ratio’s are wrong.

Nurses were hailed as heroes during the Covid-19 pandemic but they did not get any recognition in terms of increased pay.

The gross shortages of all categories of healthcare workers, nurses in particular, have resulted in disturbing job displacement.

 Nurses are exhausted and fatigued and this has a negative impact on the quality of nursing they deliver.

Unfortunately, it is the poor black majority who suffer the consequences of this neglected healthcare system,” Mulatedzi said with frustrations of the profession being sabotaged.