The National Education, Health and Allied Workers’ Union [NEHAWU] is currently preparing for a strike action at the National Student Financial Aid Scheme [NSFAS] after wage negotiations deadlocked.
Negotiations started on the 12th June 2020 before they deadlocked on the 11th of August 2020. A submission on picketing rules has been made to the Commission for Conciliation, Mediation and Arbitration [CCMA] while we wait for the certificate to strike which we are expecting very soon. A balloting and mobilisation process will immediately take place as soon as we are in possession of the strike certificate.
Workers are demanding an 8% salary increase while the employer is only prepared to offer a 0% salary increase. The employer is pleading poverty because of the outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic. This response from the employer is misleading and disingenuous because the institution did receive its allocation before the start of the nationwide lockdown. We blame all this mistreatment of workers on the Administrator who has always went out of his way to insult workers and undermine bargaining processes. As NEHAWU, we hold a strong view that the Administrator has overstayed his welcome and it is about time he packs his bags and go.
It is common knowledge that the institution is plunged with high levels of financial mismanagement, ranging from unfair suspension and purging of senior staff members who are subsequently reinstated by the CCMA due to lack of evidence. There are employees who were paid over R900 000 for doing nothing because of uninformed suspensions which the employer could not substantiate with evidence. NSFAS has for a long time been disbursing student’s allowances manually which has resulted in wrong payments or duplication as there are no systems in place to curb corruption.
NSFAS as an institution has not played its role in acting as a vehicle for students especially those from poor and working class background to access higher education. The institution has not finalized the funding of students for 2017/18 who are now blocked from registering or obtaining their qualifications. NSFAS has further withdrew funding of 5000 students that it claims do not qualify partly because of the absence of systems which was part of the mandate of the Administrator. The union is convinced that the presence of the current Administrator has deepened the crisis at NSFAS instead of transforming the institution to respond to the needs of students. The institution has lost qualified senior managers due to instability caused by Dr Randall who just appoints people without job adverts and abuses “head hunting” processes in order to bring his cronies so that he can rule from the grave as he failed on his unguided ambition of becoming the CEO.
Since the arrival of the Administrator, we have witnessed an influx of appointments while the institution does not have a recruitment and selection policy coupled with the absence of an organogram. NSFAS continues to hire advisors on monthly basis who are milking the institution of millions on things that ordinary staff members can execute, there have been recent questionable appointments of a consultant and an adviser on Data Management while there is an ICT Manager at the institution.
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: email@example.com