Govt calls for SA to condemn attacks on nurses 'going beyond the call of duty'

GCIS Director General Phumla Williams said it was unfortunate that the very same people who went beyond the call of duty to save lives were harmed and stolen from.

FILE: Nurse Salome Nkoana, acting operational manager of COVID-19 ward at the Tembisa Hospital, checks the history of a patient infected with COVID-19 in Tembisa, on March 2, 2021. Picture: Guillem Sartorio / AFP

JOHANNESBURG/CAPE TOWN - Government has called on South Africans to condemn the attacks and robbery of nurses in healthcare facilities.

As the world celebrates International Nurses Day, caregivers have been hailed for their hard work, diligence and continued support, especially during the COVID-19 pandemic.

The safety of healthcare workers has been of great concern due to the dangers they were exposed to as a result of being the first point of contact when providing healthcare.

Just last week, a brave nurse stepped in to calm the situation in New Somerset Hospital in Cape Town when a patient, who had taken a police officer's firearm, used it to kill the officer and two other patients.

GCIS Director General Phumla Williams on Thursday said it was unfortunate that the very same people who went beyond the call of duty to save lives were harmed and stolen from.

She appealed to all members of communities to work with police to ensure that healthcare workers were protected and that perpetrators were arrested.

Meanwhile, one of the country's biggest private health care groups, Life Healthcare has called for an increase in the number of nurses in the industry.

The health group said their nurses have been exhausted since COVID-19 waves hit the country in 2020, taking a toll on the sector.

Chief Nurse Officer at Life Healthcare Group, Merle Victor said nurses made sacrifices every day: “Despite that, they still show up, the come to work and take care of our patients.”


Western Cape health officials have opened a Nursing Centre for Learning and Development at the provincial commemoration at Groote Schuur Hospital.

Advanced Midwife at Groote Schuur Hospital Sister Lizeka Dana has been a nurse for 13 years.

“Nursing is a calling; I love nurturing, I love helping the sick and see someone getting better and hearing someone saying, ‘thank you’. That is the most rewarding thing.”

Head of the Western Cape Department of Health and Wellness Keith Cloete lauded nurses for the caring and nurturing role they filled.

“Nurses sacrifice long hours with family and personal time to dedicate themselves to care for the sick and most vulnerable in our society. Many times risking their own lives while save the lives of others.”

Cloete also remembered frontline workers who had lost their lives during the COVID-19 pandemic.