NEHAWU remains opposed to the agencification of the state

The National Education, Health and Allied Workers’ Union [NEHAWU], notes the signing into law of Act no. 2 of 2020: the Border Management Authority act of 2020, by President Ramaphosa on the 21st July 2020. 

NEHAWU is disappointed by the signing into law of this legislation at a time when our country is facing the war against COVID-19 which has imposed massive challenges in our health system and the economy.

The Border Management Authority Act provides for the following:

  1. The establishment, organisation, regulation, function and control of the Border Management Authority;
  2. Appointment, term of office, conditions of service and functions of the Commissioner and Deputy Commissioners;
  3. Appointment, and terms of conditions and employment of officials;
  4. Duties, functions and powers of officers;
  5. The establishment of inter-Ministerial Consultative Committee, Border Technical Committee, and Advisory Committees;
  6. Delegations, the review, or appeal of decisions officials, for certain offences and penalties, for annual reporting;
  7. For Minister to make regulations with regard to certain matters, to provide for matters connected therewith.

NEHAWU has taken part in the processes leading up to the signing of the Act into law. We have consistently raised the fact that this Act should have been formally tabled in the Public Service Co-ordinating Bargaining Council [PSCBC] because it alters the conditions of employment of our members in the public service. The previous Minister of Home Affairs and his bureaucrats have undermined this call, electing to unilaterally rush the Act through parliament without following due processes. 

We have also consistently raised the fact that as the biggest progressive union in the public service, we are opposed to the agencification and the outsourcing of essential services to the private sector because this undermines the quest to build a capable developmental state. We, however, note that there are significant changes and compromises that have been made in the bill to accommodate the demands we have made on behalf of our members based on our submission to the Department of Home Affairs, at the National Economic Development and Labour Council [NEDLAC] and to parliament.

We are disappointed by the fact that the President signs into law a legislation that is going to impose massive financial burden to the ailing public finances at the time when government is reneging in honouring the 2018 public sector wage agreement. We call on the President to delay and rethink the implementation of this Act and channel state resources to the rebuilding and resourcing of the public service, revitalisation of the public healthcare system, provisioning of proper housing, public transport and the revitalisation of social infrastructure.

Based on our experiences of the Neoliberal reforms of the state undertaken since 1994, we have no reason to believe otherwise, that the MBA is created to become a shell for running tenders from the private sector. Similar arguments were given to justify the creation of the South African Social Security Agency [SASSA], which was nothing but a channel of turning the state into an apparatus run by tenderprenuers.

We call on the President to immediately put a moratorium on the implementation of this costly Act and focus government’s attention to the pressing needs of our society. As part of the call to put the legislation on abeyance, we also call for a public presentation of the updated cost implications of the implementation of this legislation.

We are committed in the fight to save lives and livelihood of the suffering masses of our people during these trying times. We call on all progressive forces to join our call and for a popular front against austerity, privatisation, agencification and outsourcing in the public service.

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: