DENOSA Mpumalanga Student Movement statement on anti-youth provincial health department’s u-turn on employing newly-qualified nurses.

Mbombela – The DENOSA Student Movement in Mpumalanga is shocked and confused by the announcement made by the Mpumalanga Department of Health at the Public Health Social Development Sectoral Bargaining Chamber (PHSDSBC) meeting on 13 June that the department has no intention to employ the newly-qualified nurses who underwent the R171 programme, which is an Anti-Youth posture at the time when many young people remain unemployed in the province.

In 2020, 51 students were enrolled for the R171 programme under the new nursing curriculum from the government funding, and they were due to complete their studies in May 2023 after they wrote their SANC Exams.

According to the contract with between the department of health and the students, upon completion of their course, they would qualify as general nurses and were to be placed in various healthcare facilities of the province where they are needed. 

But the announcement by the Department is a betrayal of its commitment and a further condemnation of the youth to the unemployment lines of our society. 

This move also casts doubt on the future employment of the following cohorts of student nurses who were taken in 2021, 2022 and 2023 respectively. 


The department has not committed to absorbing the 51 fellow students for employment for 2023 /2024 financial year after receiving their licensure (South African Nursing Council) examination results, which was written on 12 May 2023. 

The Mpu DoH is willing to send all students home after completion of the studies with the chip on their shoulder to look for employment in this gross shortage of nurses in the province, with a high patient-nurse ratio in the healthcare facilities.


The Nursing students are faced with many challenges in the one and only public nursing college in the province, these include poor infrastructure and poor maintenance, lack of academic support and study materials, poor quality of food provision, lack of safety and security in the premises just to mention a few.


The intake of nursing students has decreased drastically over the years at the college whereby the largest intake was back in 2019, with a number of 154. With the implementation of the R171 programme, only 70 nursing students were enrolled in training. At the current rate of production of newly qualified nurses, this has caused a gross shortage of nurses in the province.

Furthermore, nurses retire in numbers, and with the Covid-19 pandemic many healthcare workers suffered the most, and many nurses died, thus causing a further shortage in the profession.

Nurses who are permanently employed suffer from this shortage and are in strain of exhaustion and burnout.


Nurses who did the R683 programme (Bridging course) are faced with a huge predicament in terms of translation, whereby the fellow nurses complete training, register as general nurses yet experience delays in translation and they end up earning below their Scope of practice. 

Currently, the department is failing to translate nurses who have qualified as general nurses since 2021. This act is pure exploitation of nurses by the Department.

With these challenges and provocations,  we therefore call upon all nurses awaiting translation to practice in accordance to the scope of practice that they are earning in the province.


The DENOSA STUDENT MOVEMENT calls on the MEC of Health in Mpumalanga to intervene urgently on this issue. 

Until these issues are resolved, we will call upon all members to pull down their labour while we are preparing to embark on a provincial march to the MEC and Premier’s offices to send a strong message of anger and frustrations to the arrogant employer who shows no sympathy for the community and nurses at large.

Details of the march will be announced in due course. 


Issued by DENOSA Student Movement in Mpumalanga.  

For more information, contact:

Njabulo Nhlapo, Provincial Secretary (DSM). 

Mobile: 0724556379

Cde Itumeleng Maganedisa, Provincial Chairperson (DSM).

Mobile: 0724529401