On Monday we will be entering the 4th day of the TVET/CET Protected strike action.
Colleges affected: TVET Colleges: 45 total shutdown out of 50 ( with 230 workplaces(Campuses/satellite campuses) on shutdown out of 264 workplaces) CET Colleges: Colleges in Eastern Cape, Gauteng, Mpumalanga and North West are in total shutdown.
Comrades affected by police brutality
Gauteng: Southwest Gauteng TVET-Roodepoort campus-Police subjected black staff members to teargas and on union member cde Lebogang Mohadi was detained on the 15th February 2019 but was later released on verbal warning.
KZN: Umgungundlovu TVET- Regional Secretary of Harry Gwala region cde Zimisele Giyama was arrested on the 15th February 2019 and later released.
The National Education, Health and Allied Workers’ Union [NEHAWU] has finalised its preparations for a national strike in all the Technical and Vocational Education and Training [TVET] and Community Education and Training [CET] colleges in the country. The strike will commence at workplaces on the 14th February 2019 in the morning and run indefinitely until all our demands are met by the Department of Higher Education and Training [DHET].
On the 08th February 2019 the union convened a national bargaining forum meeting that was attended by Provincial Coordinators, Provincial Secretaries, Organisers and National Office Bearers to finalise the action plan for the strike. The meeting unanimously agreed that we are more than ready to embark on a strike after reports were tabled from both TVET and CET colleges on their state of readiness.
NEHAWU organises workers from 50 TVET colleges spread across 264 campuses and CET colleges spread across more than 3000 community learning centres. Our members are ready to make their voices heard and send a strong message to the department that they shall no longer tolerate being exploited and subjected to horrible working conditions. Our members have been patient since 2015 and now their patience has ran out hence they have decided to withdraw their labour power in a quest to twist the arm of the employer to accede to our genuine and reasonable demands.
The issues that has culminated into the strike have been before the council since April 2015 and the department under the stewardship of Mr Gwebinkundla Felix Qonde dismally failed to address our issues even after the march we had in November 2017. The union had numerous meetings with the department to try resolve our issues with no positive result and we ultimately had to follow the dispute resolution processes in the General Public Service Sector Bargaining Council [GPSSBC].
As NEHAWU, we hold a strong view that at the centre of our problems is the leadership and presence of the current Director General. We believe that any qualitative change that the department shall undertake must begin with the departure of Mr Qonde as he has no best interest in his heart for the department and the students it seeks to serve. He has treated workers with sheer disdain and dismally failed to guide the department to implement sound human resource policies. Most of the challenges that are being faced by workers at public colleges are administrative by nature. This can be attributed to the failure by the Director General to appoint competent HR managers.
In August 2018 the Director General issued a circular to instruct college principals to facilitate appointment of council members in terms of section 10.4B of the CET Act. This is irregular because principals are accountable to the college council as the governance structure. It is ridiculous for the principals to appoint people they should account to. This opens up space for the process to be abused by the principals by appointing their cronies so they evade being accountable. In terms of the Act it, should be the Minister who facilitates the appointment of councils.
This further proves that the DG is not fit to be at the helm of the department as he has proven beyond reasonable doubt on numerous occasions that he does not care about the proper running of the department nor does he care about the future of young people who are yearning for education. As NEHAWU, we demand that he is relieved of his duties as soon as possible.
Our demands as NEHAWU are as follows: