News / South Africa / Politics

Hein Kaiser
Journalist
2 minute read
6 Nov 2021
6:45 am

Nehawu ready to tackle ANC government head-on about salaries

Hein Kaiser

Insider says the no-show by President Cyril Ramaphosa and his replacement, ANC chair Gwede Mantashe, at Nehawu’s four-day congress, ending on Saturday, reflected government’s unwillingness to deliver on public worker demands.

The National Executive Committee (NEC) of the National Education, Health and Allied Workers’ Union (Nehawu) can be seen protesting at the Union Buildings in Pretoria on 21 September 2020, demanding President Cyril Ramaphosa responds to the memorandum of demands they submitted to him earlier in the month. Picture: Jacques Nelles

The election of National Education and Allied Workers’ Union (Nehawu) first deputy president Mike Shingane as president has been seen as its preparedness to take government head-on on its promise of a salary increment to public servants.

Nehawu insiders have told Saturday Citizen the no-show by President Cyril Ramaphosa and his replacement, ANC chair Gwede Mantashe, at Nehawu’s four-day congress, ending on Saturday, reflected government’s unwillingness to deliver on public worker demands.

Against a background of the ANC’s poor performance in the local government elections and strained relations in the tripartite alliance, only the SA Communist Party (SACP) general secretary, Blade Nzimande, and a Congress of SA Trade Unions (Cosatu) leader addressed the Nehawu 12th national congress.

“They know what they promised the workers and now they have to account on why the promise for the salary increment for public servants has not been implemented,” said one insider.

Taking over from Mzwandile Makwayiba, Shingange has been credited for:

  • Pushing for the Nehawu protest march, highlighting government’s failure to give public sector workers increases – starting in April.
  • Throngs of Cosatu members and its alliance partners picketing at three border posts with eSwatini, in support of the democratic struggles for political change in the neighbouring country.

Nehawu delegates also voted for Nyameka Macanda (first deputy president), Patrick Makhafane (deputy president), Kgomotso Makhupola (national treasurer), Zola Saphetha (general secretary) and December Mavuso (deputy
general secretary).

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Resolutions expected to be adopted by the congress, include:

  • Advocating for the tripartite alliance as the strategic political centre of power – not the factionally embattled ANC;
  • Giving meaningful support to the struggles of the people of eSwatini, Cuba, Palestine, Venezuela and Western Sahara; and
  • Pushing government to honour the promised salary increment to public servants. In his address, Nzimande was scathing of the ANC’s performance in the municipal elections.

“The fact of the matter, comrades, is that there was shoddy service delivery – a lack of basic provision of services to the people,” he said.

brians@citizen.co.za