The only nursing college in the Northern Cape faces closure due to the failure of the Health Department in meeting the criteria for the accreditation of the college by the Council of Higher Education and the country’s Nursing Council. This was revealed by various unions during a picket by students and staff outside the Health MEC’s offices in Kimberley.
Classes were halted at Henrietta Stockdale Nursing College. This comes after disgruntled nursing students and their lecturers took to the streets. They accuse the department of years of failing to address their challenges at the college.
“The college is having one toilet for the rest of us here, even the toilet paper is out of stock, do not even have a toilet paper, don’t have books we don’t have cartridges we don’t have anything, we’ve been fighting we’ve been writing letters will be writing emails and nothing has been done to today that’s why I was saying today it ends today,” says Sinazo Tsotsa: Nursing student.
“Our living conditions are unacceptable since the first year we’ve been struggling to get books. They expect us to pass without books. At our residence now we don’t have water, electricity is going down but they expect us to study. We get low-class food,” complains Nursing student, Ziola Beukes.
According to the unions, the Nursing regulatory and accreditation bodies reported that the college lacks basic proper infrastructure, training resources and qualified nursing educators.
“We are solely in support of the student nurses and the fellow lecturers who are fellow colleagues who are facing a problem that is definitely can be a total closure of nursing education institution which is the nursing college and that is the only nursing college within the province and then when we are facing that problem maybe there won’t be any production of any healthcare workers within the province,” says Young Nurses Indaba Trade Union, National organiser, Kagiso Phajane.
The provincial department of Health says it is aware of infrastructure challenges facing the college.
Northern Cape Health department’s Lebogang Majaha says, “As the department, we are aware of some concerns raised by management and students related to infrastructure. Some of the delays were caused by the delivery of the materials and these are the matter receiving attention. Meeting are underway to find amicable solutions.”
The department says the college’s current budget for this fiscal year is R82 million.
VIDEO: Student nurses picket at Henrietta Stockdale nursing college