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Nurses enrolment row spills into High Court

By Nyore Madzianike

At least 43 aspiring trainee nurses have approached the High Court seeking an order compelling Harare Central Hospital to enrol them for its January 2020 intake after the hospital failed to enlist them for lessons despite offering them learning places in 2018.

Harare Central Hospital
Harare Central Hospital

The 43 aspiring trainees, through their lawyer Simon Chabuka of Magaya, Mandizvidza Legal Practitioners, filed an urgent chamber application seeking an order that compels Harare Central Hospital to consider them first during the January 2020 nursing intake.

They sought an order that bars the Minister of Health and Child Care not to interfere with the enrolment exercise.

They cited the hospital’s management board, its chief executive officer and Minister of Health and Child Care as respondents.

“The applicants seek a declaration that the decision by the 1st to 3rd respondents not to enrol the applicants at their stated dates at the Harare Central Hospital School of Nursing despite having offered them places without just and reasonable cause be declared as unlawful, unreasonable and was carried out in an unfair manner,” they said.

“The applicants further seek a consequential relief setting aside the whole decision by the respondents of not enrolling the applicants for nurse training for the period of May 2019 and September 2019 and enrol the applicants for their nurse training for January 2020.

“The sudden cancellation of the offer letter by the respondents without giving any reasons or notice allowing us to make representations is a clear and blatant violation of the Administrative Justice Act (Chapter 10:28). The decision to cancel was itself a grossly unreasonable and negates out legislative representations and the audi alteram partern principle.”

The aspiring nurses also argued that those who were offered places and enlisted for lessons are already in the nursing training programme.

They said their matter should be treated as urgent since the referral hospital has already advertised for the next intake on November 24.

In their High Court urgent chamber application they argued that they had already invested and lost a lot of money in preparation for the interviews and start training.

They said they had bought some uniforms in anticipation of starting training and the hospital’s decision to cancel their offer letters caused irreparable harm and shattered their dreams as the opportunity might never be found again.

Justice Webster Chinamhora, who heard the matter, asked the respondents to file their notice of opposition by December 16 and applicants to file their heads of arguments on December 20. The Herald