The Gauteng Department of Health has obtained an interim court order restraining R171 final-year nursing students from participating in, encouraging, facilitating, and promoting unlawful protests at the Gauteng College of Nursing campuses. News24 reported that this news came after last week’s disruption caused by the nursing students’ protest during the first and second-year exams, which restricted access to the SG Lorens campus. In addition, it hindered the movement of students, employees, lecturers, and service providers.
The students’ demands centre around continuing their bursary stipend between June and November 2023, despite completing their studies, as they await their licentiate exam with the SA Nursing Council (SANC). However, the Department of Health states that the allocated budget cannot cover the additional costs, amounting to over R8 million, without violating the Public Finance Management Act. Furthermore, the department emphasises that the students’ demands exceed the extended bursary benefits they have already received due to the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic.
The department has engaged with the students in good faith in response to the ongoing protests. Still, there have been reports of intimidation, unauthorised surveillance, and defamation of officials, leading to the opening of a case at the Hillbrow police station. The court order prohibits the students from organising or participating in any meetings or protests actions on campus without explicit court authorisation.
The matter will be heard on 27 June, during which both parties will present arguments to determine if a final order should be granted.
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