NEHAWU Statement On Government's Decision To End National State Of Disaster
Tuesday April 05, 2022
The National Education, Health and Allied Workers’ Union [NEHAWU] welcomes the announcement by President Cyril Ramaphosa on the decision by the government to end the National State of Disaster.
The declaration of the National State of Disaster was in response to a global health crisis [COVID-19] that has undoubtedly wreaked havoc beyond any measure. In announcing the decision to end the state of disaster after more 750 days in place, the President indicated the progress that had been made in the fight against COVID-19.
Over the past two years, many lives have been lost and livelihoods destroyed as a result of COVID-19 pandemic. We witnessed how inadequate and poor government’s response was on healthcare front. COVID-19 engulfed our public healthcare system that historically has been faced with many challenges, ranging from poor infrastructure, shortage of medical personnel, crucial medical equipment, vacancies, poor management and lack of strategic leadership, to mention a few.
As NEHAWU, we have witnessed the devastation brought about by COVID-19 pandemic on frontline healthcare workers such as doctors, nurses, community healthcare workers, EMS personnel, porters, personnel in forensic pathology and all those providing essential services. The national union [NEHAWU] commends and appreciates all frontline workers who did a sterling job in the fight against this pandemic, risking and sacrificing their lives.
Equally, the COVID-19 exposed structural weaknesses of our governance and administrative system and this is evident with the impropriety and misuse of COVID-19 funds. COVID-19 funds were misused through acts of corruption, fraud, maladministration, mismanagement of public funds and flaunting of procurement processes. All these monies could have been correctly directed towards ensuring that healthcare workers were provided with the necessary resources and adequate protective necessities in their fight against COVID-19 pandemic.
As NEHAWU, whilst we welcome the decision to end the National State of Disaster in order to resume full economic activity and work towards rebuilding our country, we call on our government to prioritise and ensure the implementation of the National Health Insurance, rebuilding of a deteriorating public health infrastructure, filling of vacancies, create jobs and support livelihoods, and tackle unemployment, poverty and inequality.
Lastly, whilst the National State of Disaster has been repealed, however we still need to be cautious as COVID-19 has not ended. In this regard, we call on all our people not to be complacent and continue to practise non-pharmaceutical interventions to protect themselves. We call our people to continue wearing masks, sanitise their hands and to observe social distancing.
Issued by NEHAWU Secretariat
Zola Saphetha (General Secretary) at 082 558 5968;
December Mavuso (Deputy General Secretary) at 082 558 5969;
Lwazi Nkolonzi (NEHAWU National Spokesperson) at 081 558 2335 or email: firstname.lastname@example.org