The National Education, Health and Allied Workers’ Union [NEHAWU] congratulates its sister union, the South African Municipal Workers’ Union [SAMWU] on the occasion of its 35th Anniversary.

SAMWU was formed on the 24 -25 October 1987 as a result of a merger of unions namely; Cape Town Municipal Workers’ Association (CTMWA), South African Allied Workers’ Union (SAAWU), Municipal Workers’ Union of South Africa (MWSA), the General Workers’ Union of South Africa (GWUSA) and the Transport and General Workers’ Union (TGWU). Since its formation, SAMWU has been a fighting and militant union in the forefront of championing and advancing the struggles of workers and the working-class.

As NEHAWU, we salute our sister union for this historic milestone of reaching 35 years advancing the struggles of workers and the working-class. What makes this occasion special for us as NEHAWU, is that we share a historic bond with SAMWU due to being born out of the same founding union. The founding union of NEHAWU and SAMWU is SAAWU. 

Since its formation, SAMWU has understood that workers are members of society first and foremost before becoming workers hence the dialectical link between workplace struggles to that of societal struggles and that society progress through class struggle.

Over the years, SAMWU has been able to protect and advance the interest of municipal workers by fighting for improved conditions of service, better wages, better working environment and defending collective bargaining and rights of workers. In the 35 years of its existence, the union has advanced the struggle for economic, political and social justice for its members.

The 35th Anniversary of SAMWU occurs when there is a serious total onslaught being meted-out against workers. Workers find themselves at the receiving end of the neo-liberal austerity agenda which is being strengthened in country, and this is evident with how the government and the private sector have embarked on a process of implementing austerity measures which amongst others include jobs cuts, retrenchments, privatisation, cutting social spending, wage freezes and others.

Equally, collective bargaining is currently under attack from government and employers and have embarked on reversing the hard-won gains of collective bargaining and workers’ rights. This epoch confronting workers and the working-class requires the union of Petrus Mashishi to continue advancing and waging a relentless struggle in defence of workers. 

Lastly, as NEHAWU, we congratulate SAMWU for reaching this milestone.

Long Live SAMWU!!! Happy 35th Anniversary SAMWU!


Issued by NEHAWU Secretariat

Zola Saphetha (General Secretary) at 082 558 5968; December Mavuso (Deputy General Secretary) at 082 558 5969; Lwazi Nkolonzi (NEHAWU National Spokesperson) at 081 558 2335 or email: