ZAPU activists, who on Tuesday forced the temporary closure of the Catholic mission-run St Anne’s Brunapeg Nursing School in Mangwe, Matabeleland South province, protesting alleged unfair recruitment of trainee nurses, have been arrested.


Police arrested seven of the activists for disrupting activities at the nursing school.

The activists, who were represented by lawyer Prince Bhutshe Dube, were supposed to appear at the Plumtree Magistrates’ Court yesterday.

Zapu southern region spokesperson Patrick Ndlovu confirmed the arrest, but said the accused were not taken to court.

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“They were detained overnight in Plumtree, but were not taken to court. They were released after signing warned and cautioned statements today (yesterday),” he said.

Matabeleland South police spokesperson Chief Inspector Philisani Ndebele referred Southern Eye to national police spokesperson Assistant Commissioner Paul Nyathi.

Nyathi was unreachable for comment.

The incident comes less than a month after the opposition party and civic society activists in Bulawayo, among others, stormed Mpilo Central Hospital and United Bulawayo Hospitals to protest over the same issue.

Southern Eye heard that the Zapu delegation met the priest-in-charge of the nursing facility, Hlakanipha Dube, and members of the hospital administration to register concern over the recruitment of trainee nurses.

It is understood that all trainee nurses at the institution are not from Mangwe district, with the hospital administration reportedly stating that they had no hand in the recruitment exercise. The recruitment was reportedly done in Harare through the online platform.

“Our visit to Brunapeg was a response to locals who complained about student nurse recruitment at St Annes Brunapeg Hospital as all the recruits were drawn from Harare, sidelining locals. We are challenging the State to drop its segregation of communities and implement devolution of power as provided for in the Constitution,” Zapu spokesperson Ipithule Maphosa said.

Repeated efforts to obtain a comment from St Annes priest-in-charge were fruitless. Government recently succumbed to pressure from local activists after it came under attack over the questionable recruitment at Mpilo and UBH nursing schools. Health minister Obadiah Moyo said the recruitment would be decentralised, beginning next year.

“Going forward the electronic recruitment will be administered by the province and central hospitals starting with the May 2020 intake. Government will continue to put in place measures and policies that will curb corruption,” the minister said.

However, Zapu said the system was open to abuse.

“We are suggesting an affirmative action for the southern region on education and training so that the people catch up with their northern counterparts on opportunities to jobs … Online recruitment must be ceased with immediate effect as it disadvantages others, while it is prone to manipulation by those in charge of that system,” Maphosa said.