RNs - South Africa

Public service restructuring

Revolutionary transformation or neo-liberal retreat?
Moloantoa Molaba, NEHAWU national spokesperson, The Shopsteward, June-August 2002

NEHAWU, together with other COSATU unions, has been engaged in a protracted struggle to transform the public service, from a narrow oppressive machine responsive to the needs of one third of the population, to a central instrument for meeting RDP social goals and working class expectations raised by 1994 democratic breakthrough. ... Public service

Recruitment: Why you should Join

SADNU, The Shopsteward, January 2002

SADNU has a rich history. A product of the 1995 countrywide strike action of nurses that rocked this country, SADNU has gone on to establish itself and be a powerhouse in the labour market.

At the time nurses made a statement against all odds and expectations – and everybody took notice. It was logical that from that point nurses had to organise themselves. This is the union of nurses, run by nurses, driven by the conviction that only if nurses are galvanised into one union and speak with one voice will they make a meaningful contribution ... Recruitment

Biggest strike looming in the public sector ...

COSATU Weekly News, September 7, 2001

More than ten unions organising in the public sector in this country have threatened to embark in the biggest wage strike ever to be seen by the sector since 1999.

The unions, National Education, Health and Allied Workers' Union (Nehawu), Democratic Nurses Organisation of South Africa (Denosa), South African Police Union (Sapu), Police, Prisons and Civil Rights Union (Popcru), SA Democratic Teachers Union (Sadtu), SA States and Allied Workers Union (Sasawu) and others said that they would embark on COSATU's nationwide strike if the government does not increase its wage offer of 5,5 percent. ... Biggest strike

Staff shortage, not nurses, causes deaths - Nehawu says

COSATU Weekly News, July 20, 2001

Problems such as deaths resulting from staff shortages must not be blamed on nurses or any other health worker, it is the Health department that should take full responsibility.

National Education, Health and Allied Workers Union (Nehawu) said yesterday. Nehawu was responding to a Sowetan newspaper article that alleged that the Northern Province nurses' stayaway in support of their fired colleague at the Tintswalo hospital led to the death of newly borne infant. ... Staff shortage

A victory for all the people

Denosa joins COSATU.
The Shopsteward, May 2001

In a historic decision on 30 March 2001, delegates to the Congress of the Democratic Nurses Organisation of South Africa (DENOSA voted overwhelmingly (by more than two thirds) to affiliate to COSATU, a move which will bring many benefits to nurses and all workers. ... A victory

A day in the life of Victoria Hospital

Althea MacQueen, The Shopsteward, March 2001

Today is the 8th of January and I am still in hospital, one of the patients that have been here the longest. In this ward I have seen patients come and go. Some come in with two legs and then leave with one. It is traumatic to loose a limb, but the patients are consoled that the intense pain of the bad leg is gone.

Other patients are elderly women in their 80s or 90s who have fallen and broken their bones. They, like me, need surgery to be repaired. I am the youngest patient in this ward but the most immobile. Both my legs have been operated on. I have been bedridden for four weeks. ... A day

The nurses' strike

Organising Nurses.
Gwede Mantashe, African Communist, No.142, Third Quarter 1995

Gwede Mantashe, assistant general secretary of the National Union of Mineworkers and SACP Political Bureau member, draws organisational lessons from the recent nurses' strike.

The recent nurses' strike has highlighted the question of organising nurses. While the grievances of the nurses were generally legitimate, as COSATU, the ANC NEC and the SACP asserted, the manner in which they attempted to take up these grievances often reflected serious weaknesses. In speaking with nurses I often heard comments like "we don't need an organisation, we need money". This kind of confusion sometimes took a political turn, there were even some placards that read "De Klerk save us", or "Vote NP", as if over 40 years of NP misrule and racism had nothing to do with the appalling crisis in our public health system.

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