NEHAWU Response to the State of the Nation Address as Presented by President Ramaphosa in Parliament on the 21st June 2019

The National Education, Health and Allied Workers’ Union [NEHAWU] notes the tabling of the State of the Nation Address (SONA) to the Joint sitting of both the National Assembly and the National Council of Provinces, by President Ramaphosa last night.

The 20th of June is a day that marks 106 years since the introduction of the Natives Land Act – an act that introduced humiliation, indignity and suffering to the majority of South Africans, an act that is still the burden of the past in the present day South Africa.

President Ramaphosa, tabled the sixth administration SONA in a context of high levels of unemployment, poverty, deepening income and social inequality, deindustrialization, stagnant economy and low levels of investments into the economy.

NEHAWU welcomes the sixth administration focus in the next ten years as outline by the President last night. President in his speech said that his administration will focus on the following seven priorities as a response to the countries problems:

  • Economic transformation and job creation
  • Education, skills and health
  • Consolidating the social wage through reliable and quality basic services
  • Spatial integration, human settlements and local government
  • Social cohesion and safe communities
  • A capable, ethical and developmental state
  • A better Africa and World

NEHAWU will work tirelessly in making sure that the seven priorities, and five goals outlined by the President are realised, and will mobilise society to deal with any attempts by reactionary elements to frustrate these national ambitions.

As NEHAWU, we further note that the sixth administration as led by President Ramaphosa, has identified five goals for the next ten years, in tackling the triple challenges of unemployment, poverty and social inequality, the five goals outlined from SONA are that:

  • No person in South Africa will go hungry.
  • Our economy will grow at a much faster rate than our population.
  • Two million more young people will be in employment.
  • Our schools will have better educational outcomes and every 10 year old will be able to read for meaning.
  • Violent crime will be halved.

We welcome the prioritisation of the building of a capable, ethical and developmental state. In our National Policy Conference scheduled for the 26th to the 29th June 2019 we extensively discuss the notion of a progressive developmental state and locate our role in building such a state. The Ramaphosa administration must note that in order to build such a state we must do away with privatisation, outsourcing, agenticification and PPP’s. Government must building its own internal capacity to undertake its core functions. Moving forward, government can no longer just be reduced to steering the ship but must also row it as well.

NEHAWU has been calling for the immediate and full implementation of the National Health Insurance to ensure universal access to healthcare for all. Welcome the announcement by the President that they are far advanced in revising the NHI detailed plan of implementation, including accelerating quality of care initiatives in public facilities, building human resource capacity, establishment of the NHI Fund structure, and costing the administration of the NHI Fund. We hope that the implementation will begin as soon as possible and that government will not bow down to pressure from private hospital groups and medical aid companies.

The national union welcomes efforts to fight corruption, looting of State Owned Enterprises and the restoration of trust to our state institutions. In this regard we salute the efforts of saving ESKOM and we fully support the President’s efforts in this regard to allocate the R230 billion fiscal support to ESKOM in the next ten years because as a country we cannot afford to allow ESKOM to fail.

NEHAWU welcomes efforts to re- industrialise our economy. In this regard we support the targeted growth sectors such as, clothing and textiles, gas, chemicals and plastics, renewables, and steel and metals fabrication sectors. The sectors identified are labour intensive, with multiplier effects in the economy, and would lead to the eradication of unemployment and are in line with the demands of the progressive trade union movement for a broad-based industrialisation that is inclusive.

NEHAWU, welcomes the 100 billion seed infrastructure fund and call upon government to accelerate the implementation of social and economic infrastructure projects, as an attempt to fix apartheid spatial inequalities.

We further support attempts to fill critical vacancies in the public service in order to strengthen public service delivery, through a democratic, capable, developmental state that delivers on quality public health care, education, a social wage to the poor and the working class.

NEHAWU, support the pronouncement by the President that the Reserve Bank has to pursue its dual mandate of price stability and employment and growth targeting.

As NEHAWU, we wish the sixth administration under the stewardship of President Ramaphosa well in its endeavour to “Grow South Africa Together”.   

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: