NEHAWU Mpumalanga Provincial Executive Committee Statement
Friday April 08, 2022
The National Education, Health and Allied Workers’ Union [NEHAWU] in Mpumalanga convened its Provincial Executive Committee [PEC] meeting on the 31st March - 01st April 2022 in Middelburg.
The meeting considered the international context, political balance of forces, socio-economic situation and organisational matters affecting our members and the working class in general.
On international context, the PEC noted that this year marks the 139th anniversary commemoration since the death of Karl Marx, who produced classical works amongst them: Historical materialism and Theory of Surplus value, which laid the basis of enunciating objective laws of science and social development which provide guidance on the development of the revolutionary struggle of the proletariat and put an end to the rule of capitalism.
The meeting observed that during the period of a dominant international finance capital, the political power balance has been unfavourable to the working class but more favourable to those who owns the means of production, wherein the working class is faced with attacks and mobilization constraints with less prospects of winning social reforms from the bourgeoisies led governments. The meeting further noted the onslaught directed to workers throughout the globe and called upon the working class to remain more united and organised.
On 08th March 2022, millions of workers across the world celebrated International Working Women’s Day. This day is significant in the championing and advancing women struggles and empowerment on all fronts throughout the world.
The PEC noted the conflict between Russian and Ukraine, which can be traced back in the year 2013 wherein the Ukrainian Government suspended the signing of the partnership agreements with the European Union to avoid straining ties with Russia, and that triggered widespread protests which increased into a violent nationwide movement against the authorities.
Furthermore, the PEC reaffirmed the decision of the national union to continue pledging solidarity to the struggle of workers and the entire population of Swaziland for the fight on their liberation. The union welcomes the release of Comrade Amos Mbedzi from prison, wherein, he was serving an imprisonment for 85 years. Comrade Amos Mbedzi is currently kept in a South African Correctional Service facility, and NEHAWU demands that the South African Government release Comrade Amos Mbedzi.
As part of our practical and continuous support to the liberation and emancipation of the people of Swaziland, on the 12th April 2022, the union in the province will be embarking on two Boarder Picket Programs in Oshoek and Matsamo Port of Entries, under the theme “The 49 Years of Dictatorship Must End Now”.
The PEC congratulated COSATU in Mpumalanga for convening a successful 14th Provincial Conference in January 2022 successfully. Equally, the PEC also conveyed its message of congratulation to the African National Congress for successfully convening its 13th Provincial Conference.
The leadership collective under the stewardship of the Provincial Chairperson, Comrade Mandla Ndlovu is tasked with leading the organizational renewal agenda of the movement in the province. The PEC noted that amongst the ANC PEC Collective are two current leaders of the SACP in Mpumalanga, Comrade Nhlakanipho Zuma, 2nd Deputy Provincial Secretary of the SACP in Mpumalanga and Cde Thulani Touch Ndlovu, SACP Gert Sibande District Secretary. The newly elected ANC Provincial Executive Committee comprises of former trade unionists and members who also understand the struggles and the plight of the working class and the poor in Mpumalanga province and as such, the ANC needs to work closer with COSATU and the sector unions in handling matters affecting workers in Mpumalanga province.
The PEC reaffirmed that the National Health Insurance (NHI) remains the only tool that will guarantee the citizens of this country universal access to quality healthcare services. The PEC expressed a serious concerns around the deteriorating state of the public healthcare facilities in the province such as the exploitation of Community Healthcare Workers, shortage of medicine and supply in healthcare facilities, infrastructural challenges, the selective and indefinite suspension of members without being subjected to disciplinary hearings as per the prescripts, and expulsion of members. In this regard, the PEC called on the Provincial Government to stop using our members as scapegoats while the real culprits remains untouchable.
The PEC noted challenges confronting the health sector which include the on-translation of Professional Nurses in terms of Ranks and Specialities, side-lining of organized labour during the external intake of student nurses-R171 course, serious union bashing by the acting HOD, no special diet for patients with specific conditions, acting senior managers in the Department including the HOD, gross shortage of staff, the increased waiting time for patients to be transported to Academic Referral Hospitals due lack of proper coordination by the EMS Directorate and implementation of PPTS, payment of overtime and acting allowances, shortage of the tools of trade, organizational structure, failure to convene the task team to deal with the insourcing of the pharmaceutical depot, failure to implement resolutions and failure to take firm decisions on matters.
Considering all the above challenges confronting our members and communities, the PEC concluded that the acting HOD of Health is contributing in the demise of the department. Therefore, the union demands that the acting HOD be placed back to her original position and further call upon the Premier to ensure that the post of the Head of Department is filled with immediately.
The meeting further noted that the MEC for Health is no longer providing oversight to the functioning of department, including her failure to oversee the functioning of the current acting HOD, who has plunged the Department into a crisis. The morale of our members and workers is low due to poor management.
The union calls on the Premier to remove the MEC of Health for her inability to provide political oversight on the functioning and performance of the Department. In this regard, failure by the Premier to resolve the issues, the union will convene a massive Provincial Day of Action directed to her office.
The PEC agreed that the migration of the functions of early childhood development from Department of Social Development to Department of Education be handled at national level. As such, the PEC called on the provincial departments to stop the process until this matter is concluded by the relevant chamber at the national level.
The PEC further expressed concern about the non-payment of salaries to employees at Emalahleni Housing Company for a period of five months. The national union will explore legal avenues which will enforce the employer to pay these employees what is due to them. The PEC calls upon the MEC for Human Settlement to fast-track the process of saving jobs of Emalahleni Housing Company employees.
The PEC noted with disappointment the non-finalisation of the issue between the HOD of Human Settlement and the Office of the Premier. The HOD is being paid a salary whilst sitting at home. We therefore call upon the Premier to finalise all the internal processes so that a full time Head of Department is appointed. This includes the finalisation of all serious allegations levelled against the HOD which until to date have not been internally processed just like all employees within the Provincial Administration.
The PEC also noted that the Security guards who are safe guarding the Provincial Public institutions were not paid for more than two months. NEHAWU calls upon the Provincial Government to engage service providers to pay the Security guards with immediate effect. We reaffirm our demand of insourcing security personnel.
The PEC noted the conduct of senior managers, including some regional managers and their inability to resolve matters raised by our members within the Department of Public Works Roads and Transport which hamper service delivery. The MEC and HOD for the Department of Public Works, Roads and Transport are cautioned to ensure that all the issues raised by NEHAWU at all levels are processed and finalised.
The Department of Public Works Roads and Transport should finalise the renovation of KwaMhlanga Government Complex and other infrastructural challenges, outcome of the investigation on the Traffic Learnership Program in Bohlabela, outcome of the investigations conducted on the recruitment processes in Gert Sibande, indefinite suspension of members without subjecting them for disciplinary hearings, absorption of all contract workers within the Department.
Lastly the PEC welcomed the implementation of the “Close Ranks, Defend the Base” campaign and that the program shall be implemented on an ongoing basis by regions. As part of defending collective Bargaining, the PEC agreed to shall train all chamber negotiators by end of April 2022. The year 2022 is declared as the year of Branches Congress, which is part of our organizational renewal programme. In this regard, the province shall work with regions to ensure that in all constituency meetings and branch congresses becomes a huge success. The meeting affirmed that the Health sector and the Public Works campaign will be implemented in line with the “Close Ranks, Defend the Base” campaign.
Issued by NEHAWU Mpumalanga Secretariat
For more information please contact Welcome Mnisi (Provincial Secretary) at 082 455 2897 or email email@example.com or
Gift Maseko (Provincial Deputy Secretary) at 063 685 3461 or email firstname.lastname@example.org