Thursday, October 20, 2016

NEHAWU Condemns Violence Associated With #FeesMustFall and Supports SUAS March
14 October 2016

The National Education Health & Allied Workers Unions [NEHAWU] condemns the violence that has been associated with the #FeesMustFall Movement especially the scenes that played out at the University of Witwatersrand, University of KwaZulu-Natal and the University of the Free State since the beginning of this week.

We condemn the attack on NEHAWU workers who were attacked by police using water cannons at Wits University. According to our members at the campus police used stun grenades against elderly women who work for the university. Some workers who were enjoying their lunch break under a tree were shot with rubber bullets by police who are patrolling the campus using nyalas.

Police are workers too and they should not fall on the trap of capitalist bosses who wanted to see worker on worker violence. The apartheid government also thrived on black on black violence to further its narrow political agenda during the rule of the National Party.

We call on students to desist from violent behaviour as it has the potential to overshadow their genuine demand for the door of learning to be open. As NEHAWU we support the call for free quality education and we hold a strong view that it is possible to implement it but only for the poor, students from working class background and for the missing middle.

The unequal capitalist society that we find ourselves in does not allow free education for all. Our economic system does not allow our government to roll out free education for all but only for the poor. Only through socialism can we be able to provide free education for all.

NEHAWU supports the march that will be led by the South African Union of Students today to submit a memorandum to the Chamber of mine and the big banks of South Africa. We call on all our members to join the march in their numbers to make it unequivocally that capitalism has to also play its role in the funding of free education.

We call on law enforcement agencies to apprehend those who use student's protests for looting businesses and vandalising both university and private property. Our police force must not use brute force in dealing with students but must be tactical in ensuring that there are no more causalities like Reverend Graham Pugin who was shot by police at the Holy Trinity Church in Braamfontein while trying to stop police from hunting down students who were hiding in the church. As NEHAWU we condemn any form of police brutality.

As NEHAWU we also call on Bishop Jo Seoka of the Anglican Church to desist from his anarchic behaviour. The Bishop was seen at the University of Witwatersrand accompanying students while they marched around the campus disrupting classes. He denied all this even though there photos to prove his contribution to the shutdown and disruption of classes. Men of the cloth should not be involved in such distasteful actions.

The genuine demand of students must never be used by those who are hell-bent on being famous by all means necessary. We have not forgotten how the Bishop also tried to use the Marikana Tragedy for his populist escapades.

An immediate end to these protest in needed urgently as they might bring forth deadly consequences for the country. If health sciences students who are expected to graduate this year are not ready to work as interns next year January then there will be death in our hospitals. What all this means is that community hospitals, especially in rural areas will be without doctors if the academic year does not resume.

With the health system already compromised there situation will get worse if the hundreds of health sciences graduates are not scheduled to enter the health system come January 1. The system is unable to cope without interns and that will result in the increase in mortality as the system heavily relies on junior doctors.

We call on all stakeholders to find common ground and engage each other without resorting to violence and vandalism. We also call on universities to use their reserves which runs into millions to fund education. The private sector is the biggest consumer of skills yet they do not contribute substantially in cultivating those skills by funding education.

Issued by NEHAWU Secretariat

For further information, please contact:

Bereng Soke (General Secretary) at 082 455 2713; Zola Saphetha (Deputy General Secretary) at 082 558 5968;
Khaya Xaba (NEHAWU National Spokesperson) at 011 833 2902 - 082 455 2500 or email:;
Visit NEHAWU website:

No comments: