Narissa Subramoney
Copy rewriter
2 minute read
9 Jan 2022
5:18 pm

‘We didn’t tell staff anything’: Confused Nehawu caught off guard by Parliament accusation

Narissa Subramoney

Nehawu was dumbfounded, saying it never issued instructions to Parliament staff. The union's spokesperson tells 'The Citizen' he 'knows the building is a hazard'.

EMS and fire services look on as smoke pours out of the Parliamentary building. Photo: Supplied

The National Education Health and Allied Workers Union (Nehawu), which organises staff of Parliament, says it’s been caught off guard by Parliament’s accusation on Sunday that it instructed members not to report for duty at the precinct.

Parliament’s Sunday statement “noted a public statement by Nehawu, instructing members not to report to the precincts due to the recent fires.”

Parliament went on to accuse the union of making “unhelpful public exchanges.”

Nehawu’s alleged statement could not be found on its website or its Twitter account.

“We didn’t send out any communication to members,” said Nehawu spokesperson Lwazi Nkolonzi.

He told The Citizen Parliament’s responses has caught them off guard and they (Nehawu) don’t know where Parliament received its information.

As per Parliament, Nehawu’s alleged statement “was based on the fire and safety report of the Fire and Rescue Services, released by the City of Cape Town on Friday.”

“Why would we release a statement saying workers must not report to Parliament because the building is a hazard, we know that no one can work in that building since the fire,” said Nkolonzi.

Parliament’s statement also raises the agreement between the Speaker and Nehawu to “further engage with each other over grievances and not to make unhelpful public exchanges.”

At the time of the fire, Nehawu had publicly stated that Parliament couldn’t afford to pay weekend and public holiday rates for security guards at the precinct.

Since then, National Assembly Speaker Nosiviwe Mapisa-Nqakula and Nehawu’s leadership agreed to discuss grievances internally.

Parliament had issued a communication to its staff members of staff, informing them of restricted access due to the fire incident.

It told staff they’re not physically required to be present at work, with the exception of senior management who is dealing with the fire aftermath.

Parliament’s statement went on to say “public exchanges during this time of crisis remain unhelpful and may serve to negatively affect the ongoing process of implementing the institutional business continuity and recovery plan.”

“Really, this whole thing is uncalled for and we will be taking it up with Parliament because we did not issue any communication to members,” said Nkolonzi.

Parliament spokesperson Moloto Mothapo was not available for comment.

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