Nurses forced to moonlight says study

Nurses say they can barely support their families on current salary.

Nurses belonging to the National Education Health and Allied Worker's Union take part in a strike. Picture: Reinart Toerien/EWN

CAPE TOWN - One in every three nurses have more than one job, according to a new study by the Wits Centre for Public Health.

Nearly 4,000 nurses were surveyed by the centre in 2009 and 2010, and half of them reported feeling exhausted on the job. Some work overtime and moonlight to make ends meet.

The centre's Laetitia Rispel says, "One tenth of that group that was surveyed said they had taken sick leave when they were not actually sick and about 11 percent said they paid less attention to nursing work while on duty."

In May, nurses affiliated to the Democratic Nurses' Organisation of South Africa (Denosa) went on strike at Netcare hospitals.

They were demanding an 11 percent salary increase saying they could not afford to support their families.


A programme aimed at improving the efficiency of service delivery in the health sector was launched in Cape Town two months ago.

The Albertina Sisulu Executive Leadership Programme in Health will see dozens of health workers across the country receive training.

The aim of the programme is to transform the country's health system by training those already in the system to overcome and satisfy the health challenges South Africans currently face.

Near the top of the programme's plan of action list is to reinforce strategic plans to fight HIV/Aids, tuberculosis (TB) and sexually transmitted disease (STDs) on a national level.

Health Minister Aaron Motsoaledi said training will start in August. He said the programme is an important monument in creating a great South Africa.