The National Union of Public Service and Allied Workers (NUPSAW) calls on all South Africans to salute the remarkable work done by nurses under stringent and suffocating environment in this country.

With that said, NUPSAW would like to state it categorically clear that we do not celebrate the sorry state of nursing in this country. While this day calls for a celebration, we cannot out of a clear conscious, share that sentiment, given the exploitative working conditions.

This failing state of our health has worsened as a result of austerity measures imposed by this neo-liberal government. The shortage of nurses in this country is second to none, despite the fact that you have a lot of trained and qualifying nurses unemployed.

For the past decade or so, government has not filled nursing posts, despite many leaving the public service, creating a massive gap, which must now be filled by the already over-burdened staff.

According to the South African Nursing Council, the country’s nurse to patient ratio was sitting at about 1:213 in 2020. This means a single nurse is responsible for taking care of over 200 people. If this doesn’t spell exploitation, nothing ever will.

The National Union of Public Service and Allied Workers would also like to highlight the plight of Community Healthcare Workers (CHW) who are playing a role of nurses in our communities. Government must move swiftly to acknowledge them and the role they play, by giving them permanent employment