Thursday, December 08, 2016

NEHAWU CEC Statement
8 December 2016

The National Education Health and Allied Workers' Union (NEHAWU) convened its Central Executive Committee (CEC) on the 6-7 December 2016. The CEC assessed progress in the implementation of the 2016 programme of action, ranging from workplace and collective bargaining struggles, international solidarity, organisational development, political and socioeconomic assessment.


The CEC was convened just after the Cuban people concluded a nine days mourning period dedicated to the Commander-in-Chief of the Cuban Revolution and former Cuban President, Cde Fidel Castro. Cde Fidel was a lifelong friend of Africa and a fountain of support for many African liberation movements in the fight against imperialism and colonialism.

In his honour, the union shall intensifying its international working class solidarity work especially in support of Cuba in the fight to end the American criminal economic blockade, an end to the American colonial occupation of Guantanamo territory and its return to Cuba and also celebration of the life of Fidel Castro. The CEC was also convened just as we commemorate exactly three years since the passing away of Cde Nelson Mandela. The memory and legacy of Cde Mandela is forever etched in our consciousness and continues to serve as a guiding light.

The CEC reiterates our support to the South African government's decision to withdraw from the International Criminal Court (ICC) in line with Article 127 of the Rome Statute. Thus, it condemn the unnecessary abuse of the courts by the DA in dealing with political and public policy matters.

The CEC congratulated our President Cde Mzwandile Makwayiba, on his election as the President of the World Federation of Trade Unions (WFTU) at the historic 17th World Trade Union Congress that was held in eThekwini in October this year. This is an immense honour as he is now also the President of 92 million strong membership of WFTU located in all continents. With this responsibility, our primary task is to build WFTU on the African Continent and to strengthen the Trade Union International (TUI) of Public and Allied Employees which held its 12th congress last year. His election underlines the priority given to the African Continent by the WFTU and the imperative of building a strong class oriented trade union movement in our continent.

NEHAWU expresses its solidarity and support to PAME (ALL WORKERS MILITANT FRONT), a WFTU affiliate on its already successful General Strike today, 8 December 2016. As part of WFTU, we standby the struggling people of Greece in the face of an endless draconian austerity programme imposed by the sell-out government of SYRIZA, with the EU-IMF-ECB. We are also concerned about the imposition of new trade union legislation that will abolish the right to strike and destroy trade union rights and freedoms. This only underscores how much SYRIZA has turned its back on the struggling working people of Greece.

Political situation

The CEC concluded that 2016 shall go down in the annals of the history of our struggle as a turning point in the wake of the outcome of the local government elections. The ANC's loss of political power in three major economic centres is indeed a major setback and has put to test the ANC as the spearhead of our revolution. As we gear ourselves to celebrate the 105th Anniversary of the ANC on the 8th January 2017 in Gauteng, the CEC expressed regret that this would be taking place at the time when the revolution itself is facing an unprecedented threat of being derailed by the scourge of corruption and factional battles unfolding within the ANC, socioeconomic crisis marked by very low and declining growth rate, rising unemployment and inequalities, as well as the growing disillusionment and discontent amongst the masses of our people.

The CEC as the highest structure between congresses reaffirms the unions call on Comrade Jacob Zuma to take the honourable and courageous decision in the interest of the ANC and our people by resigning as the President of South Africa. We however note the outcome of the ANC NEC on the leadership of Comrade Jacob Zuma. We also note the decision of Cosatu CEC to engage the ANC on this matter.

Nonetheless, we maintain that the best way forward is for the ANC leadership to develop a unifying roadmap towards the 54th National Conference and with Comrade Cyril Ramaphosa steering the transition to an overwhelming victory for the ANC in the 2019 national elections. As NEHAWU, we have no illusions, as on its own this would by no means resolve all the ills facing the ANC, but nonetheless it would be a major starting point in turning the tide against factionalism in the long journey of the renewal of the ANC that must be earnestly started at the ANC National Policy Conference next year.

Socioeconomic situation

The CEC expressed grave concern on the socioeconomic situation. The recent announcement by Statistics South Africa that third quarter economic growth was a mere 0.2% comes on the back of official unemployment rate having gone up to 27%. The CEC welcomes the ANC NEC discussions on the interventions that must take place in the townships and rural communities as part of the programme, "Turning South Africa into a construction site" as well as the tabling of the National Minimum Wage proposal and paper on Comprehensive Social Security at NEDLAC. The union shall support our federation in the NEDLAC engagements to ensure maximum benefits to the workers and working class as a whole.

Public service

In 2017, we shall engage with government on the new round of collective bargaining in the public service. In this regard, our immediate priority is to ensure that the entire 2015 PSCBC agreement is implemented before the commencement of the new round of collective bargaining. Government as an employer must honour the agreements it enters into with workers, it must not act dishonourably. As part of this, we shall convene workplace meetings with our members to report on progress to date on the implementation of the current agreement. This shall lay a foundation for taking a fresh mandate from members and for the new round collective bargaining.

However, we are announcing that the CEC has agreed that from January 2017 all our provinces shall embark on a mobilisation programme around the closure of vacant posts and restructuring in the public service. Whilst we appreciate the difficult economic situation, as NEHAWU we reject the fact that the Treasury has targeted the vacancies in public administration at the lowest level in the public service hierarchy which is the coalface of service delivery to the people whilst the executive level remains bloated. This is going to worsen the already bad situation where many workers in the category of General Public Service are overloaded with work due to the unfilled vacancies. This problem of unfilled vacancies and work overload cuts across in the entire public service especially in our hospitals where nurses find themselves being forced to do the work of the cleaners and potters in addition to their already huge responsibilities that they carry in their duties.

As NEHAWU, we call on the Treasury to table a plan on the reduction of the extremely bloated Cabinet and bureaucracy given the creation of the new ministries and departments, on the cutting of wasteful and fruitless expenditure, and extra proactive measures to prevent corruption. We also call for the extension of zero wage increase to executive managers in all the state owned companies.

We find it strange that the Treasury which ultimately would underwrite the R14 billion loss made by Petro SA and is saying nothing about reports that 11 senior executives of that company have awarded themselves millions of rand in bonuses. In this regard, the NEC adopted a national campaign aimed at fighting against attempts to create Border Management Agency, on-going outsourcing public services and private-public-partnerships. Thus, we are going to embark on coordinating provincial protest activities which shall culminate in a national day of action targeting the Treasury's Budget Speech at the end of February 2017.

Health Sector Programme

The CEC expressed concern about the recently released findings by the Office of Health Standards and Compliance (OHSC) on service delivery and the state of health institutions in the 11 NHI Pilot Sites as well as the findings of the Auditor-General, Kimi Makwetu, in the Audit Report on the Performance and Management of Pharmaceuticals at the Department of Health. Thus, as NEHAWU we shall embark on our Health Sector Programme which would be driven by the identified six priority areas in all health institutions, insourcing, conditions of work of health workers and progress in the implementation of NHI in the Pilot Sites.

Education sector programme

NEHAWU shall continue with work in support of the Section 77 Notice process initiated by COSATU at NEDLAC. The CEC welcomes the progress made by NEDLAC Constituencies and key stakeholders in higher education to date. Immediate action will be taken by the union nationally and provincially to convene meetings with COSATU, SADTU and PYA to prepare for 2017 under the umbrella of the Education Alliance. The union will further convene an urgent meeting with SASCO early in January 2017 with the intention to develop a joint programme on collaboration and transformation of higher education institutions towards centralised bargaining and insourcing services.

NEHAWU 11th National Congress

Next year we shall be celebrating the 30th Anniversary of NEHAWU and we are announcing that we shall be convening our 11th National Congress. The congress shall look at the work of the national union in the implementation of the four year programme of action. It is also an elective congress where a new mandate shall be given to a new leadership collective. As an organisation, we are proud of the fact that over the past three years we have seamlessly renewed the democratic mandates of the workers' leadership at branch, regional and provincial levels.

As part of our preparations for own 11th Congress, the 14th Congress of the SACP, 6th Central Committee of COSATU and the ANC's 54th conference, the union shall also engage in discussions around socioeconomic transformation facilitated nationally, in our provinces. The union will step up our swelling-the-ranks campaign to ensure that our members continue to join the ANC and SACP. Similarly, we shall organise provincial and regional classes to develop a common perspective amongst our members, including engaging with the discussions that are taking place within the Alliance.

Issued by NEHAWU Secretariat

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

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