The EFF student command (EFFSC) has called on all prospective nursing students to show up at their respective training colleges and adopt the #SizofundaNgenkani campaign by forcefully claiming their education by entering campuses and receiving training, as expected.
The student command said it would be at the Chris Hani Baragwanath, Ann Latsky and SG Lourens nursing colleges, to ensure the full registration of new students and that the number of accepted nursing students was doubled in order to fix the Health Department crisis.
It has also called on anyone interested in studying nursing to come forward so that the number of nurses being trained is doubled in order to accommodate the demand for trained nurses, to ensure that the country has enough healthcare for life security.
The student command made the comments after the Gauteng health department announced that 700 nursing candidates, who have not been awarded any external bursaries, would not be able to study for a four-year diploma at three Gauteng colleges this year because the department cannot afford to fund their studies.
This despite the prospective nursing students being informed that they had qualified to study for the course and the country being in dire need of nurses.
The student command said the department had approved R3.5 billion last year, just to introduce flavoured condoms at a cost to the public purse while knowing there were 88 000+ vacancies for nurses across the country.
EFFSC National Spokesperson Mangaliso Sambo said they were going to expose Health Minister Aaron Motsoaledi, who had been paraded as the best minister.
“In reality, he has the worst recording of no improvements nor developments under his ministerial leadership, except for more deaths, more casualties, more condoms, more underdeveloped health institutions, more money laundering and less improvement, less nurses and doctor skills training. Today, we crown him as the most useless minister in all of the country,” Sambo said.
Sambo said it was surprising that students had undergone all the necessary evaluation and selection criteria and stages that included academic excellence, psychometric tests and interviews by the department’s selection centre from May to December 2017.
He said the students were scheduled to commence their four-year training on 15 January 2018 but principals received WhatsApp messages informing them that their course would not be continuing as scheduled.
“The Department of Health is run from WhatsApp. It has proven that it is not serious and is undermining the health crisis and shortage of skilled nurses by sending WhatsApp messages to principals and prospective students that it won’t be continuing with the programme because of budget constraints.”
DA shadow MEC for health Jack Bloom said the announcement by the department was a cruel blow to poor students who passed the selection process but have now been left out in the cold with no other study options for the 2018 academic year.
Bloem said the under-funding of nursing training was most unwise as South Africa is short of trained nurses.
“I am hugely concerned that 700 nursing candidates will not be able to study for the four-year nursing diplomas at three Gauteng nursing colleges because the Gauteng health department cannot afford to fund their studies,” Bloem said.
He said the department should urgently reconsider the cancellation of training for the students, which is a priority that should not be sacrificed because of poor budgeting.
Meanwhile, Gauteng police spokesperson Lungelo Dlamini said he was not aware of the EFFSC’s planned protests.
“At this stage, I have no information about their protest,” Dlamini said.
Attempts to get a comment from the Gauteng health department on the EFFSC’s call to prospective students to invade nursing schools were unsuccessful.