Wednesday, June 12, 2024

Stealth relocation of nursing school angers Kgatleng leadership

The Dutch Reformed Church says it believes a “third force” might have played a major role in the Ministry of Health’s decision to relocate school of nursing from Deborah Retief Memorial in Mochudi.

Tempers are expected to flare this week during a Kgatleng Full Council meeting which will among others discuss the relocation of the school from the district.

However the church has emphasized that it has not taken any sides between the government and the tribe over the current standoff.

A property expert who has been involved in the rental negotiations has told The Telegraph that government officials were bullying the church.

He said not only were prices too low, arrears were often left unpaid for long stretches.

A Church spokesperson Rev Dikeme Radikgomo said government behavior was “unbelievable and disappointing.”

Radikgomo said what hurt most is the fact that the ministry has been long sitting on their new proposal since last December.
He explained that the church engaged a property agency to negotiate the lease on behalf of the church adding that the church did inform the ministry about that.

Radikgomo said the proposal was made around the 20th December last year “but since then ministry has not responded to our new proposal.”

He said sometime early this year the ministry indicated that the agency that the church had engaged was exerting a lot of pressure on them.

“But the ministry said it preferred to engage the church directly rather than involving the third party. I do not believe that the ministry was negotiating in good faith. I strongly believe that there is a third force that might have led to this,” he said.

Radikgomo has said it is possible that on account of the current standoff between the government and Bakgatla this could have influenced the ministry to act in such a manner.

┬á“The church is not in any way or somehow involved in the current situation in Mochudi but the church will as always pray for both parties to resolve their differences amicably and better the lives of the people,” he stressed.

Radikgomo indicated that the church doors are open saying if the ministry intends to change its mind, the church will welcome that with warm hands.

He revealed that the monthly rent for the facility was P10,500 but the Ministry declined to discuss the new proposed rental.
Radikgomo stated that the issue of rental alone could not have led to the relocation of the school of nursing.

He said the church has a major responsibility to play in the community and it is not after money.  

Members of Parliament for Kgatleng East and West constituencies Gilbert Mangole and Isaac Mabiletsa said they were shocked by the decision taken by the Ministry of Health.

They say the ministry failed to consult and engage the leadership of Kgatleng.

Instead the civic leadership heard about the issue from the media “which is totally unacceptable.”

Kgatleng district council chairperson Tona Mooketsi said he was not aware of the developments.
The entire council was not aware of such relocation.

“I have a cordial relationship with the district commissioner and it is unfortunate that I was not informed about the relocation. We hope we will be officially informed during the full council meeting that will resume on Monday,” he said. ┬á

┬áLast week the ministry of health issued a press statement stating that following lengthy discussions between the Ministry of Health and the Dutch Reformed Church Board, “the Ministry of Health has decided to relocate from the church premises housing part of the Deborah Retief Memorial School of Nursing in Mochudi.” The release went further to say the public is informed that the General Nursing program which was offered at the Deborah Retief Memorial School of Nursing has now been relocated.

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