The South African government has started rejecting applications by health workers from Zimbabwe on grounds that its neighbour is currently facing a staff crisis due to migration.
The neighbouring country’s Public Health Department’s Directorate said that Zimbabwe is not listed in the category of countries South Africa should recruit from.
This was revealed in a letter to some Zimbabwean applicants last week, which was signed by the South Africa public health director of workplace management, Sindile Sodladla. He wrote:
The government of South Africa is obliged to adhere to all the relevant protocols between member States of the Southern African Development Community (SADC), the African Union (AU) as well as World Health Organisation as it pertains to the recruitment of health professionals from developing countries.
These agreements, protocols and recruitment codes were designed to prevent the uncontrolled recruitment of health professionals from countries where the public health system is faced with huge staff shortages, particularly with regard to health professional occupations.
In view of the above, the department regrets to inform you that your application for endorsement towards registration and employment in South Africa was not successful.
Your country, Zimbabwe, is not listed in the category of countries the RSA department of Health should recruit from.
Sodladla indicated that the copy of the letter would be submitted to the South Africa Immigration authorities, Department of Home Affairs as well as the South Africa Nursing Council.
He further advised the Zimbabwean applicant against travelling to South Africa, saying the application will not be considered once they arrive in the country. Said Sodladla:
You are in your interest, advised to familiarise yourself with the relevant immigration legislation and not to depart to South Africa to promote your application for support.
The department will not be in a position to reconsider your application, once you have arrived in the country.
Migrant Workers’ Association-South Africa (MWA-SA) chairman Butholezwe Nyathi confirmed that some of the health professionals from Zimbabwe received such letters after they applied to be registered in that country.
Zimbabwe Nurses Association (ZINA) president Enoch Dongo professed ignorance over the new development in South Africa.
He told NewZimbabwe.com that if true, then it was against the SADC and AU protocols on free movement and employment of Africans across the region.
Ministry of Health and Childcare Deputy Minister John Mangwiro said he was unable to immediately comment on the issue as he was locked in a meeting.