The SANC Press Rel 3/2019

6 May 2019

TO: News Editor
FROM: Ms SA Mchunu
Registrar and CEO


SANC responds to claims regarding training of nurses


The South African Nursing Council (SANC) notes with concern the recent article in the news by Solidarity’s Occupational Guild for Nursing regarding the training of nurses in South Africa.

According to the article South Africa is experiencing critical problems with regards to the training of nurses, with Mr Hennie Bierman, Head of the Occupational Guild for Nursing is quoted as saying: “…. the SANC’s ineffectiveness has a negative impact on the finalisation of regulations on nursing training”.

The statement is factually incorrect. The SANC has developed and duly submitted all regulations regarding the offering of the new nursing programmes. Regulations relating to undergraduate programmes were promulgated by the Minister as far back as 2013 including regulations for the accreditation of institutions as Nursing Education Institutions (NEIs). Those regarding the offering of post-graduate diploma programmes were completed and submitted in 2017. The Department of Health has been processing and continues to process these regulations and consults with the South African Nursing Council as it deems fit. It is not clear which Regulations the article is referring to as there are no outstanding regulations for offering of the Undergraduate programmes that have not been developed by the SANC and duly submitted to the Department of Health.

The article further states that “…the SANC’s ineffectiveness has a negative impact on the ……accreditation of new training institutions for nursing training, practice, and programmes, as well as the reaccreditation of existing institutions and programmes offering nurses’ training”. This statement is incorrect and misinformed. The SANC can only accredit institutions that have duly applied and met the set accreditation criteria and requirements. Those training institutions that have met such requirements now have either full or conditional accreditation and will in all likelihood commence offering the new nursing programmes in 2020. These include some universities and private institutions. In addition, the process of reaccreditation is not automatic, and institutions that have the capacity to offer the new nursing qualifications have duly applied. Names of institutions, both private and public, which have been accredited by the SANC will be published on its website to assist the public.

The article proceeded to describe a lack of communication between the SANC and the Department of Higher Education as the main reason for the delay in “……accreditation of all nursing courses and the approval of private training institutions have been dragging on since 2014”. This statement is not just false and generic but malicious as the SANC is in communication with applicant institutions to keep them informed about where they are in the process. Communication with the Department of Higher Education, which is not mandatory, has taken place as and when where both parties had matters to discuss.

Another statement: “Unfortunately, neither the private training institutions nor the new curricula have been approved or accredited. Therefore, nurses’ training has ground to a halt to a large extent. Due to these problems, most private training institutions have not taken in any new nursing students since 2016,” clearly reflects on the author’s lack of information regarding the process that informed the academic and professional reasons for the phasing-out of the legacy programmes that are referred to.

Accusations regarding “…. the delay was impeding accredited private nursing training institutions, and that no private institution had received approval for training over the past three years, and the SANC has suspended many of the courses offered by the existing private institutions back in 2015” is a broad generalisation made without basic insight into facts on why some legacy courses were phased out. Institutions that are a subject of lamentation are also not mentioned in the article, casting doubt on the authenticity of the complaint. Factually, there were only two courses, not many as it is alleged in the article, that were phased out because they were no longer in sync with any framework that located nursing in higher education. Nurses’ training has not ground to a halt as there are still more than twelve (12) programmes that are still offered by qualifying institutions. If the SANC had been contacted, the author of the article would have been enlightened.

The SANC is blamed directly by stating that “This means that even fewer nurses are being trained, putting extra pressure on the existing nurses in the profession, which again impacts service delivery. Given that 60% of the country’s nursing training is done by private training institutions, accreditation of these institutions can prevent shortages of nursing staff in the future.”

The lamentation is not clear and is biased as the author is not specific about the category of nurse that is in short supply and would be resolved by continued training of the two phased-out programmes, which are the one-year auxiliary nursing programme and the two-year programme leading to enrolment as nurse. No evidence exists that products from these two programmes are in short supply.

Claims made that “The SANC and the Department of Health must urgently prioritise their training framework for nursing and they must see to it that they align themselves to avert a training disaster that is in the making,” further demonstrates a total lack of understanding about the required frameworks for training of nurses.

The SANC would like to make it clear that frameworks that reside within its jurisdiction are in place and are known by its stakeholders, specifically Nursing Education Institutions. There are no training regulations that are outstanding from the SANC’s side, competencies for specialization programmes and curriculum frameworks have been developed and published and accreditation requirements as well as processes are in place. Any statements or rumours made to the contrary are a blatant display of lack of proper communication and consultation by the author involved and could have been avoided had the necessary steps been taken to obtain the correct information prior to publishing defamatory claims against the SANC. The overt lack of basic understanding of these matters on the side of the author is regrettable,” says Ms Sizo Mchunu, Registrar and CEO of the SANC.


Issued by:
Mrs. Adri van Eeden
Senior Manager: Marketing and Communication
South African Nursing Council 
E-mail :
Website : 
Tel : 012 426-9542

Official Spokesperson and person to be quoted:
Ms. S Mchunu
Registrar and CEO: SA Nursing Council

For more information or to arrange for an interview with the Spokesperson, please contact Mrs. Adri van Eeden on Tel. (012) 426-9542 or email: