NEHAWU Northern Cape PEC Statement
Thursday September 22, 2022
The National Education Health and Allied Workers Union [NEHAWU] in the Northern Cape convened its Provincial Executive Committee [PEC] meeting on the 15th - 16th September 2022 in Kimberley, Northern Cape. The PEC considered the international context, political balance of forces, socio-economic situation and organisational matters affecting our members and the working class in general.
International and Solidarity Work
The PEC deliberated at length on the rise in xenophobia and a formal establishment of xenophobic groups in our country. It further acknowledge that anti-foreign sentiments have been adopted by some of our comrades in the Alliance. The PEC reiterated that the current economic challenges are not caused by foreign nationals, but are a direct cause of the capitalist system.
The PEC also noted that while the rest of the world is pre-occupied with the situation in Ukraine, there is a disturbing silence on the onslaught of the people of Palestine. The Israel government in August 2022 unleashed the most deadly attack on Palestine which resulted in the death of 47 innocent lives and 360 injured. During the 3 day attack, the Israel Defence Force unleashed a total 147 air strikes. The PEC agreed to continue raising awareness across all regions in the province about the plight of the people of Palestine.
The PEC further noted that the ongoing Ukraine-Russia conflict continues to prove warnings to NATO and friends that this will be catastrophic not only for Russia but for the rest of the world. The PEC reiterated that the sanctions and counter sanctions by both parties will hit the working class and the poor mostly. Russia is the world’s 3rd oil producer, the 2nd natural gas producer and among the top 5 producers of steel, nickel and aluminium. It is also the largest wheat exporter in the world (almost 20% of global trade). The dependence on Russian oil & natural gas, Europe appears to be the region most exposed to the consequences of this conflict. Replacing all Russian natural gas supply to Europe is impossible in the short to medium run and current price levels will have a significant effect on inflation in the rest of the world. The PEC reiterated its call for NATO to stop its aggressive push to establish military bases in Russian territory and end sanctions against Russia.
Political and Ideological
The PEC deliberated at length the current onslaught by the current administration and come to a realisation that the ANC led government has once more reinforced a neo-liberal agenda towards its core motive force the working class and the poor. The PEC came to the long standing reality that the ANC, despite its radical agenda during the late apartheid and early transition years, has in fact adopted a moderate stance against business leaders and softened its view on nationalisation and regulation of key industries. What remains is black empowerment policies within the private and public sectors, which continue to reach only a minority of politically affiliated insiders. With the majority of black working class remaining poor and excluded in the economy activities.
The PEC further warned the ANC that the continued factions, corruption and criminality that is on the rise in the movement are a serious threat towards 2024 general elections and the existence of the ANC itself. If the movement still want to be relevant to the working class and the poor. It needs to decisively deal with corruption, rebuild the state, fix embattled state owned enterprises, spur the economy and reduce unemployment.
The PEC congratulated the SACP for hosting its provincial and national congress and it’s looking forward towards a rejuvenated SACP that remains the only hope for the working class and the poor.
Socio and Economic
The PEC has emphasised that our democracy is not redistributive and in line with addressing the imbalance of the past and this is demonstrated high-levels of inequality, poverty, unemployment and lack of job security. The PEC further called on the ANC to address underfunded health and education, and improve service delivery and work to ensure that the police are well-equipped to combat crime.
The crises of social reproduction characterised by the rise in violence in general, gender based violence against defenceless women and children particular and femicide must be condemned with the contempt it deserves. More importantly, the cuts in social spending which includes policing by the 6th administration must fought on multiple fronts.
The PEC has resolved to roll out a campaign jointly with the SACP and COSATU to elevate the safety of our communities which must be reprioritised and that will be extended to include the safety of workers and our members, especially those in the health sector, such as nurses, doctors, community health care workers and community development workers. This campaign will also form part of our preparation towards the roll out of the Public Health Sector campaign.
The state of health in the province continues to worsen buttressed by the austerity measures led by provincial treasury. The PEC further noted the recent graduation of different categories of nurses which from the Hendrietta Stockdale College where the MEC of Health and the Premier of the province regarded this as a huge milestone and astounding achievement by the college and the department. The PEC regarded such self-praise as clear signs of a failing department, noting that this was the first group of graduates since 2019. Furthermore these graduates are not aware that they are stepping into a crises-ridden department which does not care about the safety, mental wellbeing nor the growth of its own employees and the communities that expect quality public health care services.
The PEC further condemned in the strongest possible terms, the recent failure by the department of health to its own employees whose petrol and diesel cards declined at the pump stations, forcing EMS officials to return back with patients who in dire need of health care. The MEC and the Acting HOD of Health must be held liable for this. As NEHAWU we will not stand by and watch as public health care services are compromised and workers in the sector are forced to work under unbearable conditions all in the interest of parasitic-networks of tenderpreneurs purporting to be “service providers/entrepreneur’s”, while quietly milking the department of the little resources at its disposal.
The PEC reaffirmed its long standing stance that, the true success of the 6th administration does not lie in the attainment of a clean audit by a non-service-delivery department such as the Office of the Premier but rather in the turn-around and delivery of quality health care services which makes an impact on our communities. This success must translate into the appointment of staff on a permanent basis, especially community health care workers who are central to the reengineering of public health care and the implementation of the National Health Insurance by government. Anything less, must be regarded and should be understood as grandstanding.
The PEC received and noted the progress made as far as it relates to the rolling-out of branch congresses and the renewal of mandates at a shop-floor level. The PEC is satisfied with the progress registered and has resolved to intensify the program and ensure that we concluded this task as set out by our 12th national Congress.
The PEC directed the Provincial Office Bearers working with the Regional Office Bearers to continue rolling out the close ranks and defend the base campaign. More importantly, the PEC reaffirmed the CEC decision that the union must talk to itself and that members must interface with the union leadership on a daily basis.
The PEC resolved to implement all other sectoral campaigns which include meetings in the legislature sector, SANPARKS, SETA, Provincial Entities, NHLS, and Forensic Pathology Sector etc. These will all form part of our build up towards the launch of the Public Service Delivery Campaign to fight against austerity measures including, outsourcing, agentification and corruption in the public service and public entities. This campaign will be launched as art of the Provincial day of Action by the union.
Issued by NEHAWU Office
For more information, please contact: Moleme Moleme (Northern Cape Provincial Secretary) at 0824552521 or email: email@example.com or
Banzi Sebotse (Northern Cape Provincial Deputy Secretary) at 0636851900 or email to Banzi@nehawu.org.za