The Gauteng Department of Health says it has postponed the start of the 2018 academic programme for first year nursing students in the province. It says it is unable to enroll all the students who had qualified to begin their studies this week, due to budget constraints.

On Monday, members of the Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF) protested outside the Chris Hani Baragwanath Nursing college demanding to start lectures. The EFF Student Command  threatened to forcefully enter classrooms at the Chris Hani Baragwanath Nursing College, demanding to attend lectures.

Members of the EFF protested outside the college. The students say they were informed at the last minute of the decision after after going through a screening process.

Spokesperson of the EFF Student Command Mangaliso Sambo called for the Department of Health to redirect the budget, as there was a budget last year when they started this project.

“All of a sudden they were sent bogus whatsapp messages by the Department of Health that they are no longer going to have a 2018 intake due to budget constraints. So we are here as the EFF student command to say let them adopt the Sizofunda Ngenkani Campaign – where we are saying we are going to enter class by force, and we demand that the Department of Health redirect the budget as the budget was there last year when they started this project.”

Gauteng Health MEC Gwen Ramakgopa says they will enroll these students in the new financial year.

“We are looking at postponing the starting of the training for first years, but you must also know that we have second and third years who are currently studying in our various institutions – and that we will certainly, at the beginning of the financial year, ensure that the students that have already gone through the screening are indeed part of the first year group that we are taking,” said Ramakgopa.