The South African Federation of Trade Unions pledges its total support to its affiliate, the Young Nurses Indaba Trade Union (YNITU), in rejecting the sudden, outrageous decision by the Gauteng Department of Health (GDoH) to cancel the intake of student nurses in the four Gauteng colleges.
At a time when so many hospitals are understaffed and providing scandalously poor service to patients, the need for more nurses could not be greater. For thousands of matric graduates, nursing ought to have offered a good prospect of a career serving the people.
But the Gauteng officials put the interests of sick patients and young job seekers below balancing their budget and continuing to operate at a level which fails to provide an acceptable level of service.
SAFTU is particularly angry that these students had already completed and satisfied the stringent selection process expected to start work, which led to most resigning from their previous employment and those leaving school declining other study opportunities.
They may therefore not only not be able to start work as nurses, but have to join the swelling ranks of the young unemployed, now a total of 6.1 million young people (38.6% of those aged 15 to 34), according to Statistics South Africa’s (Stats SA’s) Quarterly Labour Force Survey (QLFS) for the third quarter of 2017.
SAFTU joins YNITU is demanding that the GDoH reverses their decision and admits all successful candidates to commence with their studies as planned. Training of nurses is a priority in addressing staff shortages and in improving the quality of care our communities.
This decision is a direct consequence of decades of the ANC’s neoliberal economic policies which have put the interests of monopoly capitalist businesses before providing the people with decent public services in healthcare, education, and other vital services.
We demand that the new ANC leadership act immediately to ensure that Gauteng and all other provincial health departments are given the resources they need to pay for the employment of nurses and other staff which we so desperately need.
Open nursing colleges!
Thina Sizofunda Ngenkani!