Nurses face losing their jobs because of delays in receiving certificates after paying their annual fees

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Nurses face losing their jobs because of delays in receiving certificates after paying their annual fees

Katharine Child | 2017-01-30 13:20:11.0

In 2017‚ the annual professional payment system is not yet online and the 220‚000 nurses and 73‚000 nursing assistants must pay via FNB and fax their proof of payment to the office.

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Nurses face endless delays being sent their practising certificates after paying their annual fees and must travel across country to get the certificate and keep their jobs.

The frontline of South Africa’s health system‚ they say the way they are treated by the SA Nursing Council shows that the government does not respect them.

In 2017‚ the annual professional payment system is not yet online and the 220‚000 nurses and 73‚000 nursing assistants must pay via FNB and fax their proof of payment to the office. Then their certificate is posted to them but many say it never arrives.

Nurses‚ who do not receive their licence‚ must travel to the only nursing council office in the country to get it.

Nomsa Hawker‚ who works in Saudi Arabia‚ travelled to Pretoria to pay in person last week.

“It is expensive but to save your job‚ you need to do it.

“It is a pathetic situation. The South African government does not appreciate nurses [even though] we are the pillars of the health system.”

Using the number of nurses in the country as recorded on the council website and the annual fees‚ The Times established the council rakes in at least R120 million in fees a year. The Times visited the council offices and found hundreds of nurses queuing for their documents in hot offices with a broken air-conditioner.

A women collapsed while waiting on Thursday and was taken away by ambulance. One nurse asked: “Where does the nursing council money go?”

Philile Khoza took the day off work to fetch her sister’s licence. Khoza’s sister had travelled to the offices in December from KwaZulu-Natal only to find them closed for holidays. This is despite the fact payment for the year closed on 31st December and many nurses wait for their annual bonus to pay the fee.

Khoza’s sister has to pay a fine of R1‚760 for missing payment and has been threatened with losing her state hospital job. Nurses at the offices said they found the fine- exorbitant and didn’t expect that they would have to pay it as usually payment closed in March‚ but last year it closed in December.

One women travelled from Mafikeng to get her licence because she had been told she will lose her job this week without it.

She had paid in October‚ but never received her certificate and was unable to reach the council on the phone. The Times made calls to the council and found the phone unanswered.

Chairperson of the council Busisiwe Bhengu said nurses did not need to fax proof of payment to the offices. But The Times has documentation from the council instructing nurses to do this.

Bhengu said employees could check if nurses were registered using the electronic register‚ but many nurses told the Times said they were required to have the hard document for their state employees.

Bhengu said: “If they pay way in time‚ the council will not have to post their annual practising certificates in the busiest time for the post office.” She said the council had held outreach days in all provinces making it easier to pay.

-TMG Digital/The Times



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