JOBLESS & EXTORTED Nurses up in arms against national council
UNEMPLOYED Zimbabwean nurses seeking employment in foreign countries have slammed the Nurses Council of Zimbabwe (NCZ) for demanding about $150 to process their papers.
The nurses fork out up to $100 for transcripts of their results from training institutions.
They pay an additional $60 to regional institutions when they apply for jobs outside the country.
Fuming nurses told The Chronicle yesterday that the NCZ requirement, which was introduced at the beginning of this year, was extortive.
They said most of the nurses who had secured jobs outside the country had failed to raise the money and had as a result lost an opportunity to fend for their families.
An estimated 3 500 nurses are unemployed in the country following a Government freeze on jobs in the public sector.
The Government recently lifted the bond imposed on nurses to enable them to seek employment outside the country.
However, the unemployed nurses said their quest for employment is being frustrated by NCZ.
“The NCZ introduced a verification letter which we’re supposed to send to countries or institutions that want to employ us.
“The verification letter costs $150 and we don’t even know why we’re paying it and why it’s pegged so high. What is painful is that if you fail to get a job and re-apply elsewhere, you have to pay again,” said one of the nurses.
Another nurse said the NCZ sends the letter directly to prospective employers.
He said the verification letter is one of many requirements that needs money before one is employed.
“The verification letters are a further burden to us given the fact that we’re already struggling due to unemployment. We’re already paying between $60 and $100 for our transcripts depending on the nursing institution. Some institutions require that we produce two transcripts, meaning we pay double. We also pay about $60 to regional nurses bodies when we apply for jobs,” he said.
A comment could not be obtained from NCZ yesterday.
But The Chronicle is in possession of a letter from South Africa Qualifications Authority (SAQA) demanding the NCZ letter from a Zimbabwean nurse seeking employment.
“With regards to the NCZ, SAQA is unable to obtain a response due to verification payment that needs to be made . . . In light of the above mentioned and due to time constraints kindly pay the verification costs and have the institution send the verification results direct to us,” reads the letter.
AN NCZ council member, Mrs Miriam Mangeya, declined to comment.
“I’m not the registrar or the chairperson of the NCZ. You’ll need to talk to them. I’m not very clear of what you’re talking about,” said Mrs Mangeya.
Deputy Minister of Health and Child Welfare Dr Aldrin Musiiwa said it was nurses’ council issue that does not concern the Government.
“This is a nurses’ council issue and therefore has nothing to do with the Government. At the moment we’ve posts but we’re incapacitated to employ, that’s why we decided to stop bonding them,” said Dr Musiiwa.
He said he was not aware of the amount being charged for the verification letters. VICE-PRESIDENT Phelekezela Mphoko yesterday took a swipe at the Bulawayo electorate, saying it was gullible and prone to being swayed by political whirlwinds.
The VP made the remarks as he distributed an additional 2 500 chicks to the Njube community in Bulawayo.
He said fly-by-night political parties have turned the city into their launch pad, taking advantage of the credulity of residents.
“Any politician who wants to launch his or her political party has a tendency of coming to Bulawayo first. We’ve the likes of (Messrs) Simba Makoni, Tendai Biti, Morgan Tsvangirai, Acie Lumumba and others who have turned this city into their playground because they know you’re easily carried away. In fact, they think you cannot do anything on your own,” he said.
VP Mphoko warned Bulawayo residents against falling into a trap of political parties bent on reversing the gains of the liberation struggle.
“People of Bulawayo fall prey to anyone who comes here to deceive them. They forget that this is a royal city. Don’t be gullible to non-traceable parties,” he said.
VP Mphoko blasted political rivals querying his war credentials, saying their aim was to tarnish his image.
“I’m aware that there are some people who go around saying I didn’t participate in the liberation struggle. I left the country to join the liberation struggle on April 4, 1964, and returned on January 13, 1980, together with the late Vice-President Joshua Mqabuko Nkomo. I worked alongside veterans such as Cde Ambrose Mutinhiri and we were Zipra commanders,” he said.
VP Mphoko urged Zimbabweans not to shun their country, saying such action was tantamount to undermining the sacrifices made by gallant sons and daughters who died to liberate the country from colonialism.
“We should work for this country instead of going to Europe and other neighbouring countries leaving Zimbabwe at the mercy of foreigners who come and do business here,” he said.
VP Mphoko said the on-going poultry programme was aimed at reducing poverty and bringing development to local communities.
“It’s our duty as leadership to make sure that communities are empowered. We’re donating these chicks because we want to economically empower our communities through this income-generating project. I’m not expecting to get commission from this project but we’re simply assisting our people to improve their livelihoods,” he said.
The chicks are part of the poultry project the VP unveiled last month. The programme which is anchored on the country’s economic blueprint, Zim-Asset, seeks to empower communities through utilising local resources.
VP Mphoko warned residents against unruly elements who he said were trying to sabotage the project. The project is set to spread to every part of the country.
Member of the House of Assembly for Lobengula constituency Cde Maidei Mpala thanked the VP for empowering her constituency. She urged the residents to embrace the project and work hard.
VP Mphoko will next Sunday donate another batch of chicks to residents in the same constituency. The chicks were sourced from commercial farmer Mr Peter Cunningham who owns Maleme Farm in Matobo.
Vice President Phelekezela Mphoko presents a donation of day-old chicks to members of the Njube community in Bulawayo yesterday
Student nurses at a Mpilo Central Hospital graduation ceremony in this file photo