The National Education, Health and Allied Workers’ Union [NEHAWU] in the North West Province is shocked by the media statement released by the MEC of Health in the North West Province on what he terms ‘taking the members of society through stages of engagements between NEHAWU and his Department’.
Firstly, we want to applaud all NEHAWU members as well as workers from sister unions who joined the march on the 20th March 2018. The march was a warning shot to those who still think that workers are mules that must be used without respect.
The march was a huge success despite the failed attempts by those in political offices to collapse it. Thugs who masqueraded as ANCYL members were rented and coordinated from the ANC Provincial Office to intimidate and attack NEHAWU members and leaders and in particular to target the COSATU Deputy General Secretary, Cde. Solly Phetoe, and the NEHAWU Provincial leadership. This happened on the eve of celebrating the Human Rights Day, a day which reminds South Africans of the Sharpeville massacre and many other painful moments in the history of our country. These leaders who used the revolutionary house of the movement to plan and execute this murderous attempt which could have resulted in fatal injuries and/or deaths did not mind to have bloodshed of workers on the day.
These rented thugs, immediately when their plan failed they went back to our very own Mphekwa House to receive payments from their masters. It is a shame that our fellow leaders in the movement and government were prepared to harass, intimidate, and frighten workers including to harm them under the democratic dispensation despite the fact that the same workers voted them into power and will still be expected to vote them back again in 2019.
Whereas we are willing to forgive these barbaric actions, because this signals pure lack of class consciousness from both the masters and the youths who were used against the union, we shall never forget. While these leaders delivered alcohol and drugs to the youths that are rented including transport and food for the day, the future of these young people remains doomed because they will remain with a permanent challenge of unemployment; poverty and inequality hence they have turned themselves into being slaves to the masters in defense of corruption. Painful as it is, poor children were exploited in this manner while children of these power hungry politicians were sitting and watching news on TV as well as listening to the radio in the comfort of their luxurious homes.
Having said so, workers must find time to properly characterize these leaders who will stop at nothing in crushing the trade union movement in the public sector
On the 20th March, NEHAWU led a march which was legal, the rented crown gathered at the point where we were to deliver a memorandum of demands and Government Officials and the police did absolutely nothing to clear the place. Having failed to clear the space, NEHAWU members went into a confrontation with the rented crowd and only then did the police start acting but still shot rubber bullets at our members and not the disruptive rented crowd. Clearly the intention was to disrupt and collapse the peaceful march by NEHAWU and other organisations while having clear intentions through the help of government leaders and politicians to cause serious bodily harm to the marchers and their vehicles. This represents the rolling back of democratic gains as contained in the constitution of the republic as the right to freedom of expression, demonstration, and petitioning.
Having said so, we wish to remind government that we have requested responses within the next fourteen days. Failure to respond positively after 14th day we will be left with no option but to shut down the public service.
REACTION TO THE DEPARTMENT OF HEALTH MEDIA STATEMENT:
Over the years the Department of Health has been in the front of undermining workers and even during this difficult times the leadership of this Department is refusing to change for the better.
The public response by the department is not in any way trying to remedy the current situation instead it does the opposite by worsening it. At the end of the day, it is community members that are suffering and we can now confirm that the leadership of the department and government do not care as they are not using public health facilities for medical attention.
To try and score cheap publicity will no resolve the situation and we want to caution the Department against misconstruing issues raised by the union as this leads to the prolonging the process of finding a suitable resolution to the impasse.
The department does not have answers and is not willing to resolve the impasse. Once more we are calling on the Department to bring back to the table concrete responses to issues raised and avoid playing victim on a self-inflicted injuries. Workers remain resolute on their issues and they are willing to resume engagements if the employer is serious about negotiating in good faith.
For further information, please contact: Patrick Makhafane @ 082 455 2486
or Toffies Moemi @ 073 064 9300