The Minister of Higher Education, Science and Innovation, Dr Blade Nzimande,  met with the Office Bearers of  the National Education, Health, and Allied Workers’ Union (NEHAWU), led by President Mzwandile Makwayiba  yesterday, the 2nd Friday 2020 to discuss  both political and administrative challenges and progress in the implementation of the bargaining agreement within the sector. This meeting was an ordinary meeting between the Minister and NEHAWU.

The meeting noted the Statement released by NEHAWU which refutes claims by Minister Nzimande that it was not consulted on the return of workers and students to campuses as released on the 1st October 2020.

Minister Nzimande explained the context of the Ministerial statement on the implementation of measures by the Post School Education sector  in response to the COVID-19 epidemic.  In the statement, Minister Nzimande acknowledge the role played by the leadership of the various trade unions organizing in our sector, in particular NEHAWU and other unions in the sector. 

Minister Nzimande explained that in the statement he broadly referred to the unions participation in Ministerial Task Team, led by Deputy Minister Buti Manamela comprising of SACPO, USAf, Labour Unions, SAUS and SAFETSA who worked collaboratively to navigate COVID-19 uncharted territories as presented by the pandemic. The Minister acknowledge that prior to the announcement of lockdown level 1 regulations, the Ministerial Committee did not have a meeting and he apologised for any misunderstanding caused. NEHAWU welcomed the Minister explanation and accepted his apology. 

Minister Nzimande further thanked frontline health workers for their commitment during the lockdown. The Minister Nzimande said frontline workers were real foot soldiers that had to fight against this invincible enemy.

The Minister through the department tabled the progress report on the Implementation of Section 198B of the Labour Relations Act (LRA) to 224 (204 TVET and 20 CET) settlement, NEHAWU noted and welcomed progress in this matter however we unhappy about the lack of progress in some areas of the settlement, which includes the lack of adequate consultation by the department. To deal with this issue, the meeting agreed to establish a task team comprising of both the Department and NEHAWU. This team will report back to the bilateral meeting next week Friday.

Amongst the issues discussed are NSFAS, TVET/CET settlement agreement, SETA Corruption, SETA Shared services, Collective Bargaining Structure, Phased Return of workers and students, Centralised bargaining in SETAs and Transformation of the sector.

Both the parties agreed that the meeting was cordial, frank and open with both parties discussing issues without any fear of contradiction  with an intention to bring the parties closer together.

Due to the extent of the discussions, the meeting agreed to reconvene next week, Friday, the 9th October 2020, particularly to discuss NSFAS related matters, TVET/CET 2018 Settlement and transformation within the sector.

The issue relating to TVET Bargaining has been deferred to a proposed meeting between Minister Nzimande and the Department of Public Service and Administration [DPSA] Minister, Senzo Mchunu. A details report will be provided to NEHAWU for consideration.

The meeting agreed that Minister Nzimande and NEHAWU General Secretary, Zola Saphetha will convene a bilateral meeting to discuss reported corruption and maladministration affecting SETAs, in particular the Culture, Art, Tourism, Hospitality and Sport Sector Education (CATHSSETA) and the Public Service Education and Training Authority (PSETA).

Issued by NEHAWU Secretariat and DHET

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 Ministry of Higher Education, Science and Technology

Enquiries: Ishmael Mnisi 0660378859