NEHAWU statement on Employee Relations and the flouting of Recruitment and Selection Policies at NMU

The National Education, Health and Allied Workers’ Union [NEHAWU] is angered by the continuous flouting of recruitment and selection policies, and state of employee relations at the Nelson Mandela University [NMU].

The national union has been fighting an unending war with the university for acting with impunity and contravening laws that govern issues related to the recruitment and contracting of staff at the university. Our major gripe is that the management continuously undermines existing policies and laws to recruit staff in positions they do not deserve.

On numerous occasions, the management has chosen to recruit personnel that do not meet the basic requirements or recruit personnel who are reserved for positions and this impacts badly on how the university is managed. We have seen this across the university, but more especially in the Faculties of Engineering & IT, Arts, Business and Economic Studies, Library information services and Registrar/Academic Administration.

NEHAWU has been at the forefront of sharply raising issues related to transformation at the university as we have noticed that instead of fostering transformation we regress on a daily basis. NEHAWU has made repeated calls to employee relations and human resources management to ensure that they adhere to the progressive transformation imperatives of the University. However, this has not been the case as management continues to unilaterally make skewed appointments that are not in line with the transformation agenda of the institution.

The straw that broke the camel’s back was the hiring of Mr Lesiba Ramoroka, as the Director of employee relations at the university. As NEHAWU, we have since questioned his appointment as we strongly felt that he was not the right person for the position because of his history at both the Robben Island Museum and at the University of the Western Cape. Since his arrival, the relations between the management and the union at the university has been sour and degenerating on a daily basis.

Our attempts to vent our anger at his arrival and how he is operating has resulted in a fightback from Mr Ramoroka as he went on an unrelenting union bashing spree. Our members are victimised and intimidated by Mr Ramoroka on a daily basis. Two former Chairpersons of NEHAWU [Mr David Bogopa and Ms Brightness Mangolothi] have resigned from their duties, one has left the organization and while the other stepped down from HOD duties due to victimization and undue interference from the Director of School and Dean of Arts Faculty under the guidance of Mr Ramoroka. The Dean has continued to victimize former NEHAWU Chairperson [Mr David Bogopa], through ensuring that he does not get his PhD qualification by disregarding relevant policies and procedure despite Mr Bogopa meeting the provisions required to acquire a PhD. despite numerous attempts to engage the Vice Chancellor and the DVC Research, this matter has remained unresolved for over two years in a vicious attempt to destroy the career of Mr Bogopa.

The plight continued with Mr Ramoroka going as far as suspending our branch secretary, an academic staff, on dubious charges for over a year, even when the grievances of our branch secretary remaining unattended to. The university has spent millions in legal fees against our members including ensuring that the branch secretary does not return to work and his duties as a leader of our branch. This takes place while the management always pleads poverty during wage negotiations and students are suffering because of academic exclusion and lack of accommodation.

The victimization of staff in Technical Services must come to an end, the report of the investigation launched against Melvin Syce and his line function managers must be released without delay and proper action must be taken against all involved without fear nor favour. The Deputy VC Institutional Support must ensure that the line function management desists from running the Technical Services department as a Hollywood where half of the staff are either Seconded or Acting. These line managers are given the opportunity to put their friends in acting positions to prepare them for permanent positions.

NEHAWU shall not standby and tolerate the injustice and inequality experienced on a daily basis by its members. The appointment of contract companies who are related or spouses of line managers must end with immediate effect and proper Procurement processes must be followed.

As NEHAWU, we will not stand idle while our members are persecuted for raising genuine and reasonable demands at the university. We call on the management to desist from treating our members with sheer disdain and highhandedness. A meeting will be sought between the Vice Chancellor and the National Office Bearers of the union to raise all issues with a view to averting a situation that might lead to us electing to go on strike action.

We will make the following demands to the management:

  • Urgent investigation on Mr Lesiba Ramoroka conducts as Director of ER
  • Immediate placement of Mr Ramoroka on precautionary suspension as he is an advantage to contaminate and/or interfere with the investigation
  • Audit on the nature of appointments and costs of legal firms hired by the ER office from Aug 2017 to date
  • Forensic financial audit be carried out on the ER office from August 2017 till date
  • Lifestyle audit of Mr Lesiba Ramoroka
  • NEHAWU be kept abreast of developments of the investigations to be carried out
  • Transparent appointment of a panel of disciplinary chairpersons
  • The university must follow proper recruitment and selection processes
  • HR must mandate line managers to adhere to provisions of the R&S policy and recognition agreement with the union and ensure the HR consultants provide advisory services and adhere to the provisions of the R&S policy
  • The Deputy Director’s and critical posts in the library services must be filled without delay [in line with the transformation agenda of the University]
  • Where there have been elements of corruption or misappropriation or perjury, NEHAWU demands a referral to the HAWKS per PRECCA [Prevention and Combating of Corrupt Activities Act].

Issued by NEHAWU Secretariat

Zola Saphetha (General Secretary) at 082 558 5968; December Mavuso (Deputy General Secretary) at 082 558 5969; Khaya Xaba (NEHAWU Media Liaison Officer) at 082 455 2500 or email: Visit NEHAWU website: