DENOSA statement on Africa Public Service Day: Nurses’ lives matter

As today, 23 June 2020, is Africa Public Service Day, the Democratic Nursing Organisation of South Africa (DENOSA) would like to bring to the attention of the public the key support areas that should be complementing the essential work of majority healthcare professionals, which are neglected by government and are likely compromising the work of fighting COVID-19 by nurses and other healthcare workers and are resulting to extremely low morale.

Top of the priority for these poor key support areas in light of the fight against COVID-19 are:


Continuing shortage of PPE for health workers is leading to rising infections amongst healthcare workers. Nurses’ lives are being lost in a rate that is disturbing; and many are in self-isolation as the country is approaching a peak period. DENOSA would like to remind whoever cares in government that: Nurses’ Lives Matter!


Poor transportation system for essential health workers and point-blank refusal by government to ease up this challenge for them especially for those who work 12-hour shifts like nurses is making life of workers extremely unbearable;


Very poor and almost non-existent accommodation arrangement for nurses in the premises of healthcare facilities. Because they work long hours and even do overtime work, many governments have prioritised this area as it makes the work of nurses a lot easier. Other governments have booked nurses into B &B facilities where their daily chores are taken care of, like laundry and cooking;


Government has failed to effect the salary increase for healthcare workers from 1 April 2020 as agreed at the collective bargaining council. When the government has not even honoured what has been agreed, it is no wonder that it is playing delaying tactics at the bargaining on the matter of paying risk/danger allowance to health workers who are faced with high risk of infection.

Unions are currently taking government failure to honour its side of the contract through an arbitration process, after a conciliation could not yield any results. Even at arbitration, government is playing delaying tactics and are asking for endless postponements.

All these antics are demoralising to employees as government has adopted a new reputation of continued mischief and not appreciative of its essential workers, almost inviting them to down tools before it realises the essence of their work.

DENOSA would like to warn the government of the looming disaster of skills drain as its nurses are likely to leave the country in large numbers as soon as borders are opened, because other countries would have appreciated the importance of having sufficiently skilled healthcare workforce in their payroll.  And nurses would be leaving South Africa not because they want to, but because there would be nothing that keep them plying their trade here, which is likely to disadvantage the South African population.

And tomorrow supplementary budget presentation by Finance Minister is likely to harden government’s attitude of not caring.


Issued by the Democratic Nursing Organisation of South Africa (DENOSA)

For more information, contact:

Cassim Lekhoathi, DENOSA Acting General Secretary

Mobile: 0823289671

Simon Hlungwani, DENOSA President

Cell: 082 328 9635