Thapelo Lekabe

By Thapelo Lekabe

Senior Digital Journalist

‘We don’t have money to campaign for you’ – Nehawu tells ANC

Cosatu general secretary Bheki Ntshalintshali says they are finding it hard to rally workers behind the governing party ahead of the local government elections.

The National Education, Health and Allied Workers’ Union (Nehawu) on Monday said its members would not campaign for the ANC in the upcoming local government elections.

This followed a two-day meeting of Nehawu’s national political commission at the weekend, which resolved to use its financial and human resources towards fighting government’s freeze on wage increases for public servants.

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The Cosatu affiliate’s president Mzwandile Makwayiba said the union at its last congress resolved to vote for the ANC, however, they did not have money to campaign for the governing party this year.

“Last year at our central committee meeting where we budgeted for the activities of the following year (2021), but unfortunately in the process of budgeting we could not find money that must be utilised for the resources of campaigning for the ANC,” Makwayiba told eNCA in an interview.

“Therefore, we decided that we will use the money we have for the service of our members including the dispute that is in the Constitutional Court for the non-implementation of resolution one of 2018.”

Makwayiba said Nehawu’s central committee meeting in December last year did not make a decision on increasing members’ subscription fees. He said this had a major impact on its budget.

“Our members pay based on a percentage and those who don’t reach the celling automatically, the subscription fees get increased. We couldn’t decide at the central committee last year to increase the subscription because our members have not gotten their salaries.

“Therefore, we don’t have money to campaign for the ANC and we will not deploy people to campaign for the ANC because that will want us to pay for petrol or food for campaigning,” he said.

However, Makwayiba said Nehawu members were not being instructed to vote against the ANC.

“We have not said members must not vote for the ANC, we are simply saying we will not campaign for the ANC because we don’t have money.”

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Last month, Cosatu said it planned to convene a special meeting of its central executive committee (CEC) to deliberate on its support for the ANC ahead of this year’s local government elections.

Cosatu general secretary Bheki Ntshalintshali said the alliance faced a “serious crisis of legitimacy” and they were finding it hard to rally workers behind the governing party.

“The planned special CEC meeting to discuss Cosatu’s position on its support for ANC in the 2021 local government elections is informed by the political reality on the ground. The CEC meeting acknowledges the major problem that will make it hard to convince workers to support the ANC in the upcoming election,” he said.

Ntshalintshali said some of the challenges facing the ANC, like internal divisions and failure to implement its policies from the 2017 Nasrec national conference, left many workers feeling they were being asked to vote against their own interests.

“Workers have already made it clear their support of the ANC does not amount to a blank cheque and have previously refused to campaign or support candidates known to be corrupt or lazy, just because they succeeded in manipulating the ANC’s internal processes.”

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