NEHAWU History - Nehawu

Search
Go to content

Main menu:

NEHAWU History

About Us
NEHAWU was founded on 27th and 28th June 1987 by workers from the Education, Health, Government and Social Welfare sectors. The Union is affiliated to COSATU - Congress of South African Trade Unions, which is the biggest federation in the country with over 1.9 million members.

NEHAWU struggles for union recognition, a living wage and a free and democratic South Africa. NEHAWU members faced brutal repression from the apartheid regime which saw the union as a direct challenge to its control of the public service. In other sectors, bitter struggles were fought against employers with reactionary practices like the Lifecare Group, Clinic Holdings, various old age homes, universities and technikons. 

The battle cry of NEHAWU’s national strike in 1992 was “Wawutshelwe ubani ukuthi I-NEHAWU ifile?” Who told you that NEHAWU is dead? This slogan highlights the union’s will to survive.

Comrade Pholotho, who was later known as “Timer”, certainly hit the nail on the head when he said: “We involved workers in politics. Ours was the right strategy. We were not confined to the workplace”. The struggle was more than the bread and butter issues. Clements Kadalie’s Industrial Commercial Union (ICU), formed in 1919, was similar. 

“The ICU reached out to the rural masses, taking up their demand for land and recruiting tens of thousands of peasants, including a number of chiefs.”
Many comrades charted the way for us – EJ Khaile, J La Guma, John Gomas and de Norman built the labour movement through the ICU. Another union was the Industrial Workers of Africa. Stalwarts from the 1940s and 1950s include Selby Msimang, Moses Kotane, JB Marks, Moses Mabida and Joe Slovo. 

NEHAWU struggles for union recognition, a living wage and a free and democratic South Africa. NEHAWU members faced brutal repression from the apartheid regime which saw the union as a direct challenge to its control of the public service. In other sectors, bitter struggles were fought against employers with reactionary practices like the Lifecare Group, Clinic Holdings, various old age homes, universities and technikons. The battle cry of NEHAWU’s national strike in 1992 was “Wawutshelwe ubani ukuthi I-NEHAWU ifile?” Who told you that NEHAWU is dead? This slogan highlights the union’s will to survive.

Comrade Pholotho, who was later known as “Timer”, certainly hit the nail on the head when he said: “We involved workers in politics. Ours was the right strategy. We were not confined to the workplace”. The struggle was more than the bread and butter issues. Clements Kadalie’s Industrial Commercial Union (ICU), formed in 1919, was similar. “The ICU reached out to the rural masses, taking up their demand for land and recruiting tens of thousands of peasants, including a number of chiefs.”

Many comrades charted the way for us – EJ Khaile, J La Guma, John Gomas and de Norman built the labour movement through the ICU. Another union was the Industrial Workers of Africa. Stalwarts from the 1940s and 1950s include Selby Msimang, Moses Kotane, JB Marks, Moses Mabida and Joe Slovo.
 
 
Back to content | Back to main menu