The Democratic Nursing Organisation of South Africa (Denosa) in KwaZulu-Natal has threatened to withdraw its members from health centres in the province where workers were under attack from criminals.
The union’s statement follows the hijacking, robbery and abandoning of three nurses in the bush near Empangeni while on their way from an outreach programme at Bhiliya on Wednesday. The nurses were employed based at Ngwelezane Hospital.
“Denosa issued this stern warning early this year, and in the absence of any concrete action from the employer, we are left with no other option but to collate a list of facilities that are not safe for our members to work in, and pull them out of danger while they are still alive,” the union said on Friday
“Thugs are targeting the department’s minibuses and 4x4s. In the last two months alone, more than 11 vehicles have been hijacked. This particular area has lost no less than 18 vehicles to similar acts this year alone.”
The nurses were travelling in a state minibus when they were overtaken by a maroon Toyota sedan, the provincial health department said.
Three armed men confronted the nurses and demanded that they hand over valuables such as cellphones, wallets and bank cards. They were then pushed back into the minibus and driven into the nearby bushes by two of the assailants where they were abandoned. One of the nurses was reportedly almost raped before telling one of the assailants that she was HIV positive.
Medical equipment as well as medication and patients registers were then thrown away.
“We therefore demand that the employer provide a safe working environment to our members with immediate effect. Failure to do that by the end of 31st August 2016, we would be left with no option but to withdraw our members from all these red-flagged facilities,” the union said.