Opposition ZAPU says it is pressing ahead with its court challenge against the recruitment process for trainee nurses.
The party voiced its displeasure on the issue after it emerged that the bulk of trainee nurses recruited at training institutions in Matabeleland were dominated by non-locals.
In November, ZAPU gathered evidence of discrimination against locals and said it would launch an urgent High Court application, challenging the centralised e-application system.
However, ZAPU is yet to file the case, as its lawyers are working on a relevant and holistic court order that will also include the alleged biased recruitment of students into tertiary institutions across the country.
In an interview with CITE, the party’s lawyer, Vuyo Mpofu of VJ Mpofu and Associates said ZAPU was looking at a court process that would address the core of recruitment.
“ZAPU wants to move away from litigation that is merely firefighting, as a basic challenge on nurse recruitment will not necessarily address problems of teacher training recruitment or industrial attachment for a particular region for example,” he said.
ZAPU’s core value is the devolution of power to provinces and Mpofu highlighted this was the basis of their court challenge.
“Moreso when devolution, in the constitution, such litigation will have far-reaching effects and must involve diverse stakeholders,” said the party’s lawyer.
Adding weight to the argument, ZAPU Southern Region Communications Director, Patrick Ndlovu, concurred that their case is ‘very much’ alive.
“Our lawyers are working on a relevant draft court order because the minister (of Health and Child Care, Dr Obadiah Moyo) reacted to the original order before filing. We believe the minister gave in to popular pressure. But we are still far from being satisfied with the piecemeal concessions that we gained. We are now beyond reactionary case filing. Instead, we are working on a bigger constitutional challenge that will address the issue,” he said.
Ndlovu added that it was not just nursing the party was unhappy with, but almost every other field where they felt the recruitment process is biased against locals.
“Thus the challenge will seek to force the constitutional implementation of devolved recruitment. We aim to force the government through the courts to implement a system where the locals benefit from training opportunities at institutions that are in their areas.
“Currently we have Bulawayo Polytechnic full of people from Harare but Harare has its own Polytechnic, same with Masvingo and Gweru. But those people also disproportionately fill Bulawayo Polytechnic and other tertiary institutions say in Gwanda. ZAPU is saying that is so because the government has not implemented devolution as called for in the country’s constitution,” explained the ZAPU official.
ZAPU staged a sit-in at Mpilo Hospital last year protesting the dominance of non-locals at its training institution and also descended on St Anne`s Mission Hospital in Brunapeg, Mangwe and temporarily shut down the training school following reports that all trainee nurses recruited at the Roman Catholic-run institution were from outside Matabeleland.