More than 50 nurses living at the Wentworth and King Edward VIII Hospitals’ residences have been handed eviction notices – apparently to make way for the South African doctors who are expected to return home after completing their training in Cuba.
The Democratic Nursing Organisation of South Africa (Denosa) in KwaZulu-Natal has vowed to take legal action against the KwaZulu-Natal Department of Health.
Nurses were handed the notices in June and have been told to move out before October 1.
Denosa said that their lawyers were busy drafting papers to challenge the eviction.
Denosa KZN provincial secretary Mandla Shabangu described the eviction notice as “ridiculous and senseless”.
He said that there was no amount of reasoning for this “bad” idea by the department. “They responded to our communication, saying they had referred the matter to their legal services department. It’s as if this move is the best thing since sliced bread,” he said.
“The attack on health-care workers, after what they went through during Covid-19, is completely irrational, insensitive and downright inhumane,” said Shabangu.
He added that they viewed the reasons advanced by Wentworth Hospital management as very divisive.
“This attitude is simply undermining workers. We are getting legal interventions on both King Edward and Wentworth Hospitals’ evictions. Workers will continue to be abused even when you speak sense to the department because their ears and eyes are closed tightly.”
National Education, Health and Allied Workers Union provincial secretary Ayanda Zulu said their members would be not be going anywhere on October 1.
Zulu said that some of their members lived far away from their workplaces and needed this accommodation.
“Our members are not going anywhere and we are refusing to allow them to leave the premises. On top of that, the department did not consult with us prior to the decision.”
He said that their members were currently front-line workers in the fight against Covid-19.
Zulu added that any attempt to evict them would be confronted head-on and they would not back down.
“We are, however, waiting for the department to meet with us. If it fails to do that, we will definitely take legal action against the department and quite possibly as early next week. We are not going to allow them to treat our members in this manner,” said Zulu.
He said the department had in the past tried to evict the nurses at the Addington Hospital residence but their attempts failed.
Spokesperson for KZN Department of Health Ntokozo Maphisa said according to the employee housing policy for health, the termination clause on each of the tenants’ agreements stated that “this agreement may be terminated by the lessor by giving three months’ notice in writing of such termination”.
“Therefore, the majority of the lease agreements were for a one-year period. The letters or notices to terminate were in fact sent in June, 2020. Then, in August, reminders were sent to each tenant. The lease agreements had long expired when notices were served,” said Maphisa.