Nurses' low pay linked to femicide

STOCK IMAGE: Nurse's low pay linked to homicide.
STOCK IMAGE: Nurse's low pay linked to homicide.
Image: Thinkstock

Long working hours that nurses endure and low salaries are some of the factors contributing to the spate of killings bedevilling the profession in KwaZulu-Natal.

This is the view of Democratic Nurses Organisation of SA (Denosa)'s provincial secretary Mandla Shandu, in the aftermath of the brutal killing of 41-year-old nurse Nontobeko Kheswa, allegedly by her estranged husband.

"Nurses are understaffed and work under extreme conditions caring for the sick and in the process neglect their own families and their psychosocial needs.

"Having sacrificed so much they are then underpaid," said Shandu yesterday.

He said this led to nurses suffering "untold stress levels" as they have to balance work and family lives while having little to show for it financially.

"As they are underpaid, nurses plunge deep into financial troubles, this in turn, creates anxiety, hostility and marital problems in their relationships," said Shandu.

Kheswa, who was at Edendale Hospital in Pietermaritzburg, is alleged to have been fatally stabbed by her husband last Friday, apparently triggered by marital problems dating a while back.

About four nurses have lost their lives at the hands of their partners in KZN this year.

Provincial health department spokesperson Agiza Hlongwane, however, said: "These issues are not related."

He told Sowetan health MEC Sibongiseni Dhlomo had visited Kheswa's family to offer them emotional support during their time of grief.

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