NEHAWU rejects any plans by Treasury to freeze wages of public servants

The National Education, Health and Allied Workers’ Union [NEHAWU] notes the recent and ill-advised utterances by the Deputy Minister of Finance, David Masondo, about freezing public servant’s wages.

While addressing an investor conference in Cape Town the Deputy Minister revealed that the government was planning to freeze wages across its operations to restrain its escalating expenditure. This is not the first time that the Deputy Minister has made this threat to workers. In October the same threat was made and the Deputy Minister insisted that wages would have to be frozen if government is committed to controlling the public purse.

As NEHAWU, we vehemently reject the intended freezing of our members and workers’ wages because Treasury has so far this year spent about R128 billion trying to bail out the shambolically managed Eskom. Workers cannot suffer because of the country’s stagnant economic performance and low tax receipts.

Just last month the Auditor General revealed that irregular expenditure for the current year has increased by over R10 billion to R62.60 billion from the R 52 billion reported in the 2017/2018 financial year. However, Treasury continues to fail to take full responsibility and condemn this abuse of public funds including ensuring that those responsible are made to account. Instead workers must suffer wage freezes to fix the problems in the fiscus.

The national is going to pick a fight with Treasury and will demand that they inform the public how it is implementing the recommendations of the Auditor General. We will also demand to know why Treasury is not reducing the massive funds, growing exponentially going out to tenders and why are they not restructuring the bureaucracy of the free-loading State-Owned Enterprises [SOE’s]. We will make it unequivocally clear that they need to stop threatening the livelihoods of the workers as we will not stand idle while workers are punished for sins not of their making.

Treasury has proven beyond reasonable doubt that they do not care about our members and workers who work extra hard to ensure that services are being rendered to the public. Such nonsensical utterances dampen the spirits of our members and workers. In order to increase productivity and upsurge workers morale Treasury must desist from such inciting statement with immediate effect.

NEHAWU would like to send a clear message to Treasury that we shall never enter into any negotiations to reduce the incomes of the public service workers. As we head towards our Central Executive Committee [CEC] to be convened on the 7th and the 8th December 2019 we will consider a decision to convene a march to Parliament on the day of the delivery of the budget speech as we suspect the wage freezing will be announced then. Failure for the march to yield any positive results we will be left with no option but to mobilise all our members and workers to shut down government indefinitely and render the system ungovernable. Moreover, we are more than capable of mobilising society at large for a mother of all fights against the austerity measures by treasury.

Issued by NEHAWU Secretariat Zola Saphetha (General Secretary) at 082 558 5968; December Mavuso (Deputy General Secretary) at 082 558 5969; Khaya Xaba (NEHAWU National Spokesperson) at 082 455 2500 or email: