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South Africa: Country Faces Critical Shortage of Nurses, Healthcare Network Says – South African News Briefs – May 24, 2023


South Africa’s Nursing Shortage Becoming Critical, Netcare Says

South Africa’s largest private healthcare network, Netcare, says that the country is facing a critical shortage of nurses, reports Bloomberg on TimesLive. Though most South African hospitals have their own nursing colleges, only designated universities can issue professional nursing qualifications. The country has an estimated shortage of between 26,000 and 62,000 nurses, and a large number are expected to retire by 2030, said Netcare CEO Richard Friedland. Private hospitals are restricted from training more nurses, exacerbating the problem. Netcare has the capacity to train over 3,500 nurses per year but is only accredited to take about 10% of that number. The government is being urged to allow the private sector to contribute to nurse training. Nursing shortages are not unique to South Africa and are a global concern post-pandemic.

Police Granted Legal Use of Cellphone Grabbers for Mass-Surveillance

The South African Police Service (SAPS) has been granted legal permission to buy and use grabbers, mass-surveillance devices that intercept cellphone information in a given area, reports News24. Previous ministers had denied approval, but Justice Minister Ronald Lamola recently granted a five-year exemption, granting police the right to own what may otherwise be illegal devices, including “IMSI-catchers”. IMSI  stands for International Mobile Subscriber Identifier, which is akin to a telephone number, except that it identifies a cellphone SIM even when using only a data connection, or when a phone is simply turned on. These devices can track people and gather data without leaving any trace. Grabbers have been associated with gang-related conflicts and the surveillance of journalists. SAPS already has a number of IMSI catchers, even though it has only just obtained the right to buy or own them.

Unions Reject Power Utility Eskom’s Revised Wage Offer

The National Union of Metalworkers of South Africa has rejected power utility Eskom’s revised wage offer, reports eNCA. The power utility has been locked in talks with unions at the Centralised Bargaining Forum. Eskom presented a proposal for a uniform 4.5% salary hike, which marks a departure from their original offer of a 3.75% raise. NUMSA spokesperson Phakamile Hlubi-Majola says talks continue. The negotiations come at a time when the power utility is trying to avert the unprecedented stage 8 load shedding during the winter season.

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