Oral Health and Dental Science Students of Sefako Makgatho Health Sciences University have grown frustrated with the government's inability to provide them employment opportunities.
On Monday morning, the disgruntled students embarked on a march to the National Department of Health to submit their Memorandum of Demands to the Minister of Health Dr Joe Phaahla.
They say that they want the government to source them and give them jobs after graduation. They have also said that upon graduating, the institution forces them to work for the private sector where they are exploited.
They also state that their counterparts, on the other hand, are given opportunities by the government to do their community service in government institutions.
The Chairperson for the school of Oral Health at the university says that the issue dates back to the post-apartheid period in 1994 where the Dental Therapy and Oral Hygienist sector was left out of the legislation which regulates health sciences in universities.
He adds that although he is not in support of apartheid, during that period, dental therapists were paid for their work in public clinics.
Their main demand is that Oral Health and Dental Therapy students should be given the opportunity to do their twelve-month community service in government institutions and under the supervision of the public.
It's quite saddening that when we graduate we have to go to the private sector where we are exploited but we are never given the opportunity to serve our people back at home.
An Oral Hygiene student also went on to echo the sentiment that they are often under pressure after graduation, because they usually have no choice but to settle for the private sector which exploits them.
The students have given the Health Department seven days to respond to their memorandum of demands.