The National Education, Health and Allied Workers’ Union [NEHAWU] on the 10th – 11th December 2018 convened its second Central Executive Committee [CEC] meeting of its successful and united 11th National Congress held in Boksburg in June 2017.
The CEC received reports covering all four pillars of the union which include international, political, socioeconomic and organizational assessments and also assessed progress in the implementation of the 2018 programme of action and adopted 2019 programme of action.
The CEC meeting began by paying respect to the great giant of our national liberation and proletarian international struggles, Cde Eric “Stalin” Mtshali, who was buried on the 21st October 2018. Cde. Mtshali played a central role in the advancement of the socialist struggle and building of the World Federation of Trade Unions [WFTU] in the African Continent.
The meeting also paid respect and tribute to Cde. Mendi Msimang who passed away on the 3rd December 2018 and was buried on the 8th December 2018. Cde. Msimang was elected Treasurer-General of the African National Congress (ANC) at the party’s Mafikeng Conference, a position he held until 2007. He will forever be etched in our memories for his unassuming character, impeccable contribution in the fight against the apartheid rule of the National Party and the sterling job he performed as the South African Ambassador to London.
NEHAWU congratulates the Young Communist League of South Africa [YCLSA] for a successful and resounding 5th National Congress held at the University of Fort Hare Alice campus on the 6th – 9th December 2018. As NEHAWU, we will work hand in hand with the YCLSA in their quest to intensify the struggle to build a Socialist South Africa. The YCLSA needs to revitalise the struggle to socialise the ownership and control of the means of production.
The CEC meeting highlighted the contributions and achievements of Karl Marx, who in his partnership with Friedrich Engels, worked to develop a comprehensive theory for working class emancipation. This coincides with the anniversary of Karl Marx’s 200th birthday and 150 years since the publication of Das Kapital.
Marxist ideas remain valid and universal, which is why considerable attention was paid by the CEC to a basic study of the political economy of Africa. In its analysis, the CEC underlined some important lessons regarding the changing class structure of African societies and the way in which capitalist development continues to unfold in the Continent. It agreed on the need to further these discussions within the ranks of the working class movement, not least through a seminar on imperialism and convening the Africa left Networking Forum (ALNEF).
Many of these dynamics of class societies are shaped by the crisis of the global capitalist system, which since the 2008, has been accompanied by enormous social and economic crisis, with disastrous consequences in the lives of working families. The accumulation of more than three-fold of debt means it is working people who will be made to pay. The costs associated with the capitalists’ bankrupt responses, from interventions that generates increased instability in financial markets, to wars provoked by Donald Trump, the dismal failures on carbon emissions reductions, will all be borne by the working people.
The CEC also received and considered reports on major international developments. It expressed deep concern over the totalitarian Swazi King Mswati III, specifically at how the international community continues to whitewash his evil crimes against humanity, directed at the people Swaziland. It supports the calls for the people of Swaziland to make a concerted effort to remove him from power, to release political prisoners and to move towards creating propitious conditions for real democratic elections, underpinned by a democratic constitution.
The NEHAWU CEC also concluded that, with the election victory of Bolsonaro in Brazil, neoliberal capitalism can use the platform of bourgeois parliamentary democracy as an instrument to turn genuine people’s social discontent regarding the crisis, into a vehicle that cedes political power to right-wing forces, which they can channel towards authoritarian political projects. As such it calls for the intensification of Brazilian peoples struggles against fascism and for working people in general to abandon all illusions about the system. We reiterate our solidarity with Venezuela to resist the US-led imperialist onslaught, desperately directed at the progressive Bolivarian social and economic policies.
We denounce the US criminal economic blockade against Cuba and reiterate our unconditional solidarity with the government and people of Cuba. We support the Palestinians Struggle against Zionist Israel and for the right of self-determination of the people of Western Sahara. The union will return to its militant international campaigns in 2019 focussing on these key struggles, including those expressing solidarity with the Basque Country and the Kurdish people.
The national union CEC condemns the shameless whipping up of communal and caste tensions by the neo-fascistic politics of the BJP/RSS government led by Narendra Modi in India.
The militancy of the yellow vests in France did not go unnoticed. The union supports these struggles, at the core of which are demands for better wages, for workers’ rights and against attack of their gains. These struggles in European countries, including struggles of Greek workers under PAME and the unflinching resistance to policies of capitalist monopolies have our complete support.
The CEC of NEHAWU convenes under relatively changed political conditions in our country, this is effectively progressing from the conditions that were prevailing in the CEC of 2017. Emerging from this CEC we can, with confidence, assert that the majority of the decisions that informed our political programme as the union in 2017 have indeed come to pass through our own efforts and with cooperation of the likeminded social forces from the trade union space and political arena in general.
We declare these gains because we are confident about their correctness and aligned to our objectives to change the character of the public service and the state. Through our campaigning, following the CEC, our call for the resignation of the then President was realised and subsequently the progressive movement took on a new path to systematically fight against the corrupt legacy of the previous administration under President Zuma.
The Zondo Judicial Commission of Inquiry has been established and it is looking into the state-capture as the single most decisive collection of corrupt actions that have placed the national transformation agenda on a halt and began to push back against the historic gains of our revolution. Alongside the Commission, decisive action has been taken on boards of SOEs that have been derelict of their duties as accounting authorities thereby bringing the institutions they are part of into disrepute and at odds with their developmental mandate.
We commend the fact those who are responsible mismanaging the SOE’s are brought to book for their actions and we are calling for further swift action against their collaborators so as to bring order and to restore credibility to these critical bodies that our people rely upon. The CEC affirms our longstanding position as the union that the transformation programme of the country must be defended by all people who love progress. We call on all progressive forces to join with us in our effort to safeguard our institutions from a takeover by forces of reaction and the conservative voices that oppose change driven by collective of the progressive left.
The meeting noted that it is taking place during the process of preparations for the 2019 National General Elections. As NEHAWU, we will redouble our efforts in campaigning for an overwhelming victory of the African National Congress. These elections will be the toughest since the dawn of democracy in 1994 hence all members of the Mass Democratic Movement must work in glove to ensure that the ANC remains in power and continues to build building blocks towards a better life for all.
Through COSATU we will submit our contributions into the manifesto that the ANC will unveil next month in Durban as part of the 107th anniversary celebrations of the ANC. Through our submission we want the ANC as a leader of society to prioritise the following issues:
• Accelerated implementation of the National Health Insurance and Comprehensive Social Security
• An end to Neoliberal policies implemented by the Treasury and SARB and the implementation of Radical Economic Transformation
• Filling of all funded vacant posts in the public service
• End to outsourcing
• Take a stand against privatisation especially at SAA and Eskom
• Free higher education
• Scrapping of e-tolls
• Safe and reliable public transport
• Reliable electricity supply
As we gear ourselves to celebrate the 107th Anniversary of the ANC on the 8th January 2019 in KwaZulu-Natal we want to make it unequivocally clear to the President of the ANC that we expect him to announce the immediate implementation of the NHI as resolved by the 54th National Congress of the ANC held in NASREC in December 2017. If the ANC is serious about winning the upcoming General Elections then it has to begin to implement its progressive resolutions aimed at bringing betterment into the lives of the working class and the poor.
The CEC reaffirmed the call by the National Executive Committee [NEC] for the immediate implementation of the ANC’s National Integrity Commission recommendation that ANC members implicated in the explosive VBS report must step down from all leadership positions. Equally, we also support the recommendation that says those implicated should be directed by the national executive committee to step aside from all activities of the ANC. The national union holds a strong view that keeping such comrades in our midst creates a hazard to our campaign for votes in next year’s elections.
On socioeconomic situation
The CEC noted the fact that a huge controversy has broken out within government since the release of the draft NHI Bill, especially just before its consideration by Cabinet at the end of last month. As if there was a concerted and coordinated effort, on the one hand we have read “leaked” information in the newspapers suggesting that the Treasury’s inputs in the bill have been ignored and on the other hand the Director General, Precious Matsoso, of the Department Of Health was interviewed by a newspaper in which she distanced the department from the bill - claiming that the department was excluded in the process of the crafting the bill. In this regard, the union intervened by writing letters to the Minister, Dr Aaron Motsoaledi and the DG, raising concerns about this development and calling for discipline.
The national union, working with COSATU, shall continue to engage the DOH and the Minister on the major fall-out around the NHI Bill and if necessary must demand decisive intervention by President Ramaphosa, as his office is now directly supporting the implementation process of the NHI as an apex project of the government.
Public Service The CEC noted that more than 1, 3 million public service workers need decent houses. Over time it has been proven beyond reasonable doubt that the Government Employees Housing Scheme (GEHS) has done little in ensuring adequate and decent housing for public servants. In this regard, the national union calls for the transformation and reprioritisation of the GEHS in order for it to fulfil its intended mission and this must be done through:
• Addressing the deprivation experienced by public service workers in terms of home ownership, house extension and improvement, as well as rental housing – according to the needs of the workers. This need must also be addressed wherever the spatial location workers’ choose, be it in peri-urban townships, inner-cities, suburbs or communal rural areas.
• The GEHS must harness the financial power of the GEPF, PIC and other public sector development financial institutions.
• The GEHS must go beyond just creating access to housing and must be used to transform the Apartheid geography.
Energy Crisis The national union notes the re-emergence of load shedding and the perpetual decline of Eskom’s ability to supply electricity in a reliable manner. While we applaud Cde. Nhlanhla Nene for his refusal to commit the Treasury to the Zuma-Putin nuclear energy procurement deal, equally, a catastrophic development in the electricity sector was and is still unfolding involving the nuclear industry and the future of ESKOM. As NEHAWU, we support the 13th COSATU Congress resolution of calling for a section 77 socioeconomic strike in defence of ESKOM’s coal electricity generation. The National Union of Mineworkers [NUM] sponsored the resolution because there is an ongoing privatisation of electricity generation through foreign-owned private Independent Power Producers (IPPs) which ESKOM is indirectly forced to subsidise.
The union has established the Energy Task Team involving comrades from our nuclear energy cluster, a team which is also part of the COSATU delegation in engagements with government and business at NEDLAC. Working with COSATU and other relevant affiliates (CCEPPWAWU and NUM), NEHAWU shall spearhead the fight against the Draft IRP 2018 and the implementation of the COSATU 13th Congress resolution which calls for a dominant ownership and involvement of the state in producing renewable energy rather IPPs and the declaration of a section 77 socioeconomic strike.
The CEC took a bold decision to pick a fight with the Minister of Agriculture, Forestry and Fishery, Minister Senzeni Zokwana, after we have been patient with him for quite some time. Our patience has worn thin and we are getting ready to wage a relentless war against him for failure to resolve bargaining issues raised with his office for the past couple of years. Our members suffers from perpetual victimisation, intimidation and dismissals as part of his reign of terror. If the situation continues unabated the national union will not hesitate to call for his removal as a Minister.
The meeting also took a decision to support the call by the Provincial Executive Committee [PEC] of KwaZulu-Natal on the mobilization against the MEC for Agriculture and Rural Development, MEC for Health and MEC for Social Development who are so vicious and victimising our leaders, shop stewards and members. These MEC’s have proven beyond reasonable doubt that that they do not hold the best interest of the constituency they represent at heart nor are they willing to work with NEHAWU in providing excellent service delivery while ensuring that the dignity of workers is upheld.
Issued by NEHAWU Secretariat
Zola Saphetha (General Secretary) at 082 558 5968;
December Mavuso (Deputy General Secretary) at 082 558 5969;
Khaya Xaba (NEHAWU Media Liaison Officer) at 082 455 2500
or email: firstname.lastname@example.org Visit NEHAWU website: www.nehawu.org.za