DENOSA statement post- its NEC meeting

PRETORIA – The Democratic Nursing Organisation of South Africa’s (DENOSA) highest decision-making structure, the National Executive Committee (NEC), held its ordinary three-day meeting at the DENOSA Head Offices in Pretoria between 24 May and 26 May 2023, wherein it deliberated and resolved on the various current healthcare matters in general and nursing in particular.

The NEC sat almost at the same time as the South Africa Reserve Bank’s (SARB) Monetary Policy Committee (MPC), which ultimately announced the decision to hike the repo rates by a further 50 basis points to 8,25%. This essentially means the prime lending rate in the country is now 11.75% at the time when inflation and costs of living for the workers have increased considerably.

The NEC also sat at the time when more than 20 community members from Hammanskraal, north of Pretoria, have died from the cholera outbreak in the region, which has also started to spread to Limpopo, which has caused a serious strain to the nurses at healthcare service centres in the area, especially at Jubilee Hospital.

Furthermore, the NEC was sitting at the time when the student nurses in Gauteng and various provinces countrywide are up in arms over the cooling-off period that the Gauteng and other departments of health wants to impose on the student nurses who have just completed their three years of studying to become general nurses under the new R171 nursing curriculum programme while they will only write their SANC Examinations in November 2023.

Lastly, the NEC also sat in the special Month of May, which is dedicated globally as the Nurses Month and the 12 of May as the International Nurses Day and with provinces and healthcare facilities hosting various nurses day celebratory events and programmes for the nurses in different dates and times.

On R171 students waiting for the SANC Exams.

The NEC noted with great concern the existence of a gap between the time when student nurses enrolling for the three-year R171 programme to become general nurses finish their studies and the time for them to write their SANC Examinations as required.

The students have just completed their studies in many provinces, and the SANC Exams will only be written in November 2023, thereby creating a huge gap where the students are left in no man’s land.

The Colleges that these students are enrolled at refuse to provide them with the stipend to cover the time that they are waiting for the SANC Exams. The danger with this is the potential to lose the contribution of these nurses into the healthcare system during this period whereas they would have qualified fully as nurses after writing their exams.

The DENOSA NEC is calling on the Minister of Health, the Department of Health and the South African Nursing Council (SANC) to engage closely on the matter with the view to finding a workable solution to this challenge.

DENOSA supports fully that these nurses be paid while they are awaiting their SANC Exams. Already, they are expressing their dissatisfaction over this glitch in a way that is allowed constitutionally, through protests.

On the SANC Indaba 2023 outcomes

The NEC reflected on the recent outcomes of the South Africa Nursing Council (SANC) Indaba for 2023, on the Future of Nursing as the theme.

The NEC meeting was pleased to welcome the representatives of the South African Nursing Council (SANC), namely the Registrar/CEO, Professor Ntombifikile Mtshali, and Deputy Registrar/CEO, Jeanneth Mtshali. The purpose of the visit by the SANC was to meet and greet the DENOSA NEC as the highest decision-making structure of the country’s national nursing association.

The NEC appreciated this gesture from the Council as close collaborations by both parties, together with other stakeholders, are key to unlocking the past, present and future challenges of the nursing profession and for all the nurses in the country.   

The meeting between the SANC and DENOSA took place almost a week after the SANC’s Nursing Indaba for 2023 was concluded. The Indaba underlined the importance of maintaining the quality of nursing practice and education for the mutual benefit of nursing and safety of the society.

DENOSA is pleased with the SANC’s clarity on the career pathway for the nurses who were produced by the Legacy Programme, which was provided at the Indaba.

The upward or vertical career growth pathway for the different categories of nurses is as follows:

–        Enrolled Nursing Assistants and Enrolled Nurses at NQF Level 3 and 4 respectively can progress to study for a Diploma in Nursing at NQF Level 6 with 50% Recognition of Prior Learning (RPL) for access permissible for the two categories.

–        General Nurses (bridging) at NQF Level 6 can progress to study Advanced Diploma in Midwifery (ADM) at NQF Level 7.

–  R425 Diploma or Degree holders in Nursing at NQF Level 7 can progress to study Post-Graduate Diploma at NQF Level 8 (specialist nursing course of their choice). 

DENOSA appeals to all its members and shop stewards to cascade this explanatory information to all the nursing professionals on all the available platforms.      

On the recent 2nd Presidential Health Summit

The NEC also reflected on the recently held 2nd President Health Summit between 4 and 5 May at Birchwood Hotel in Boksburg. The summit emphasized the importance of close collaborations between private and public sectors to share knowledge on the healthcare management systems and plans to prepare the country for the implementation of the National Health Insurance (NHI), which will realise the Universal Health Coverage for all people.

The Summit also added the extra pillar, Future management of pandemics, given the recent COVID-19 pandemic, which caused serious and almost unrepairable disruptions to the country’s healthcare system. By shifting resources and equipment towards COVID-19, the healthcare system put thousands of procedures and other service areas on the back-banner, thus delaying those from being taken care of.

The Summit also highlighted the need to improve healthcare personnel in key areas like nursing to deal with the gross shortage of staff in the country’s healthcare facilities. The summit underlined the need to increase the intake of student nurses and to expedite the process of accrediting various post-graduate nursing programmes so that nurses could undergo specialist nursing programmes to deal with the gross shortage that has been caused by the process towards the new nursing curriculum where colleges and universities could not offer these specialist programmes as they were still subjected to assessment at both SANC and Council on Higher Education (CHE) levels.  

On the Cholera outbreak in Hamanskraal.

Since Pandemic Preparedness was the additional pillar at this year’s 2nd Presidential Health Summit, the NEC believes the outbreak of cholera in Hamanskraal, north of Gauteng, is underlying the urgent need to activate this pillar into the country’s healthcare system.

Any disease outbreak in South Africa is bound to explode the country’s healthcare system due to the gross shortage of staff, resources and equipment. This was evident when the municipality-made outbreak was experienced in Hamanskraal, which caused a serious strain to the nurses at Jubilee Hospital as more than 100 patients had to be attended to as an emergency.

It is unfortunate that 22 lives have been lost from the outbreak that should have been prevented by the City of Tshwane as far back as 2018 when the South African Human Rights Commission (SAHRC) investigated and recommended.

It has become important that municipalities are closely involved in the designs and developments of the country’s healthcare system, particularly on Pandemic Preparedness. DENOSA stresses that water is at the core of healthcare services in terms of disease and infection prevention and management.

On nursing leadership.

Given the exacerbating crisis when it comes to nursing matters in the country, the NEC resolved to reagitate vigorously, and rightfully so, for the establishment of nursing directorates in provincial departments where this does not exist.

In provinces where nursing, as a core function of healthcare service comprising of majority healthcare profession in the whole healthcare system, does not have its own directorate and led by the Chief Nursing Officer (CNO), there tends to be chaos in managing the affairs and needs of nurses for an efficient healthcare service.

The International Council of Nurses (ICN) report for 2023 places this need in country at the centre of turning around healthcare systems to becoming responsive systems. As a national nursing association that is affiliated to the ICN as a representative of South Africa, DENOSA is duty-bound to agitate for the establishment of the nursing directorates in all provinces.     


Issued by DENOSA.

For more information, contact:

Kwena Manamela, DENOSA General Secretary.

Mobile: 082 328 9698.

Simon Hlungwani, DENOSA President.

Mobile: 082 328 9635.

For further information, contact Sibongiseni Delihlazo, DENOSA Spokesperson on 072 584 4175.