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Circular 9/2020

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Circular 9/2020

13 August 2020


TO: National Department of Health
Provincial Departments of Health
Nursing Education Institutions (NEIs)
All Stakeholders


Rescheduling of postponed May 2020 examinations conducted by the South African Nursing Council



The purpose of this Circular is to:

1.1 Inform the National Department of Health, Provincial Departments of Health, Nursing Education Institutions (NEIs) and relevant stakeholders about the resolution of the Council regarding the re-scheduling of the previously postponed May 2020 SANC- conducted examinations;
1.2 Inform the Heads of the NEIs on the amendment of Circular 9/2019; and 

1.3 Provide NEIs with a revised schedule for the next examinations.



The SANC published Circular 9 of 2019 on the 11th of December 2019, to which a schedule of examinations for 2020 was attached. The SANC later communicated a postponement of examinations that were to be conducted in May 2020. This was subsequent to the pronouncement by the State President, of an extension of the national lockdown to the end of April. The lockdown was further extended beyond April 2020. 

The SANC has always acted strictly in compliance with the Government’s regulations and directives published under the Disaster Management Act, 57 of 2002. It needs to be noted that, it was through these regulations that sectors and services were classified as essential services. It was through the same regulations that the implementation of the Risk Adjusted Strategy was implemented, gradually allowing controlled reopening of the country’s activities. It is regrettable that a few of our own professionals may have misread and/or misunderstood the Government’s legislation and guidelines, the SANC could not deliberately disregard Government’s legislation and thus it is in compliance with same that the current situation has unfolded and herewith further addressed.

The South African Nursing Council (SANC) had initially scheduled its national examinations for May and November 2020. Upon the pronouncement of the National State of Disaster by the President, and subsequently national lockdown on the 23rd of March 2020, the SANC was compelled to postpone the May examinations. Nursing Education Institutions (NEIs) as well as affected student nurses and student midwives were informed. Further, SANC Circular 6/2020 on postponement of examinations was sent to all stakeholders in April 2020.

Observing the Risk-adjusted Strategy on management of the COVID-19 pandemic and in compliance with regulations that provide for restrictions on gatherings (including academic) in the country as published under the Disaster Management Act, 57 of 2002 from time to time, the SANC has re-assessed the conducting of national examinations.

Other factors that were considered included the following:

bulletThe SANC has between eighty-one (81) and ninety-three (93) approved examination centres throughout the country (depending on the qualification);
bulletMost of these centres accommodate more than fifty (50) students at a time, with a current maximum of two hundred and sixty-six (266) students. This exceeds the prescribed number of people in any gathering under Alert level 3 Risk-Adjusted Strategy;
bulletRe-opening of additional examination centres;
bulletPossible risk of the spread of infection especially during this period; and
bulletSafety of the Nurse Educators and students.



The Council deliberated on the matter at its virtual meeting held on 29-30 July 2020 and resolved as follows:

bulletThe postponed May 2020 SANC examinations are to be rescheduled for October 2020.

This will give ample time to NEIs and students to adequately prepare for the examination.



4.1 First Year Examination for the Bridging Course for Enrolled Nurses leading to Registration as General Nurse or Psychiatric Nurse- Government Notice No. R.683 of 14 April 1989 (as amended)

Paper 1 07/10/2020
Paper 2 09/10/2020


4.2 Final Examinations for the course leading to Registration as Midwife- Government Notice No. R.254 of 14 February 1975 (as amended)

Paper 1 05/10/2020
Paper 2 07/10/2020
Paper 3



4.3 Final Examination for the course leading to Registration as Psychiatric Nurse: One-year course – Government Notice No.R.880 of 2 May 1975 (as amended)

Paper 1 05/10/2020
Paper 2 07/10/2020
Paper 3



4.4 Final Examination for the Bridging Course for Enrolled Nurses leading to Registration as General Nurse or Psychiatric Nurse- Government Notice No. R.683 of 14 April 1989 (as amended)

Paper 1 21/10/2020
Paper 2 23/10/2020


4.5 Examinations for the course for the Diploma in Clinical Nursing Science, Health Assessment, Treatment and Care- Government Notice No. R.48 of 22 January 1982 (as amended) 

Paper 1 21/10/2020
Paper 2 23/10/2020


4.6 Admission Examination for Foreign Applicants for registration as a Nurse




Conducting national examinations during this period will require, among others the following:

bulletNEIs must comply with all relevant COVID-19 Regulations in respect of the examination venues in order to ensure that students and invigilators are protected from possible COVID-19 infection. This requires preparation and procurement of essentials that may be additional for most NEIs;
bulletNEIs to submit evidence of how they ensured teaching during lockdown especially during April and May 2020; 
bulletExamination centres with larger numbers of students are specifically instructed to ensure that all social distancing, ventilation and any other regulations and directives are complied with at the examination facility and during the exam; and
bulletThe examination dates for November 2020 examination remains the same as communicated as per circular 9/2019



For further information in respect of this Circular, you are advised to contact Ms SJ Nxumalo, SANC Senior Manager: Education & Training at (012) 420 1022 or on e-mail at: jnxumalo@sanc.co.za
Ms E Magagula, Manager: Assessment at (012) 426 9596 or on email at: emagagula@sanc.co.za


Yours sincerely,


Ms SA Mchunu
Registrar and CEO
South African Nursing Council


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