The National Education, Health and Allied Workers’ Union [NEHAWU] convened a resoundingly successful second Central Executive Committee [CEC] meeting of its 12th National Congress on the 11th – 13th December 2022.

The CEC considered the international context, national political and socio-economic situation and organisational matters affecting our members and the working class in general. The CEC also assessed progress in the implementation of the 2022 programme of action and adopted a 2023 programme of action.

On International

In assessing the international situation, the entry-point of the CEC was premised on three major conclusions of the 12th National Congress namely: the economic field, the social field and the global political arena.

On the economic field, the CEC agreed that there is stagnation of capitalism, which is characterised by subdued economic performance and regular turbulence in stock markets and it is indeed as much a manifestation of the deep-seated and systemic crisis of this mode of production as it is a crisis of the current Neoliberal regime of accumulation and its ideology which is unable to offer any solutions to address the unfolding socioeconomic crises afflicting humanity and the planetary ecological crisis. This is evident with the IMF’s global forecast on the persisting low growth rates for the rest of the year and a further slide in 2023.

On the social field, the crisis of social reproduction; abiding poverty in our communities across countries, energy scarcity; hunger from lack of food security; the absence of dignified jobs; massive youth unemployment; the terror of Gender based Violence; environmental disasters leading to unwarranted loss of lives as people die during hurricanes, storms and natural disasters.

On the global political arena, the CEC agreed that there is an underlying tendency in which the entire political outlook is moving to the right and that the leading political role players utilises peoples outrage over their ruling class policies in order to shift attention away from the impact of these policy choices by promoting reactionary agendas such as racism and xenophobia.

The CEC further received update reports on major international developments with particular focus on developments in Africa, Latin America, Europe and Middle East and Asia. In this regard, the meeting agreed on an ongoing assessment of international developments in respect of workers struggles, imperialist conflicts and aggression including the continuation of our international working class solidarity program.

Furthermore, the meeting agreed that the national union must convene an International Relations Committee meeting at the beginning of 2023 to among others further our broad analysis on the international front, receive updates analysis of the situation on Kurdistan and adopt a campaign to release of Abdullah Öcalan and to join the international campaign for his release.

The meeting agreed and reiterated our commitment to continue our international solidarity campaigns with workers in Swaziland, Zimbabwe, with the people of Western Sahara, Palestine, Cuba and Venezuela as well as concretising the relations with SINAFP in Mozambique and develop a joint program.

National Political Situation

The CEC took place at the conclusion of a momentous year in our political landscape. The SACP and COSATU held their respective National Congresses, and in a few days the ANC will convene its 55th National Conference.

The CEC took time to analyse the current state of the National Democratic Revolution [NDR], and our analysis reveal that the NDR is facing an unprecedented uncertainty and immediate danger of being derailed in the short-term.

The CEC welcomed the fact that the SACP and COSATU share a common strategic perspective on building a powerful socialist movement of the working class and the poor to wage anti-capitalist struggles and building working class hegemony for socialism as confirmed in the outcomes of their respective 15th and 14th national congresses held this year. This common medium-term strategic perspective shall be intertwined with the immediate task of building a Left Popular Front to fight against austerity and the Neoliberal trajectory to reclaim the leading role of the working class in the NDR.

The meeting agreed to roll-out a programme for engagement and mobilising support from our members on the decision of the SACP to contest elections in 2024 and the relevant elements of the modalities and the roadmap as part of our preparations for COSATU’s special national congress in May 2023.

Furthermore, the national union will convene an extended National Political Commission early in March 2023 to strengthen our discussion document on the Left Popular Front with a view to incorporate a clearly articulated comprehensive political programme for mobilisation in our terrains of struggle and to link up these struggles with the SACP’s vanguard role in building a powerful socialist movement of the working class and the poor.

The CEC noted the Constitutional Court ruling releasing Janusz Walusz, the unrepentant racist murderer of the General Secretary of the SACP, Cde Chris Hani on the 10th April 1993 on parole. The CEC agreed to join the SACP Campaign Programme of mass mobilisation – 135-days programme of action up to 10 April 2023, the 30th anniversary of the commemoration of Chris Hani.

The CEC expressed best wishes to the ANC as it goes to its 55th National Conference on the 16-20 December 2022. We appreciate that there is just so much that is at stake and that hangs on the outcomes of this conference in terms of the renewal of the ANC, the unity and cohesion of the Alliance, outcomes of the 2024 national elections and implications thereof on the course of the NDR.

Socio-Economic Context

On the domestic front, the economy grew by a marginal 1.6% in the third quarter despite record level of load-shedding, high inflation and interest rate. The economy has managed to evade the recession, following a 0.7% contraction in the second quarter, which broke a consecutive seven quarter recovery since the reopening of the economy towards the end of 2020. About 204 000 jobs were gained between the second and third quarters on the back of 648 000 jobs that were gained in the second quarter. However, unemployment is still at crisis proportions (33.9%), more so in terms of the expanded definition, which decreased by 1% to 43%.

The CEC noted the National Treasury’s austerity offensive which continues to generate record levels of unemployment and poverty rates, whilst inequalities continue to deepen in terms of race, gender and geography. In this regard, the CEC agreed to step up our resistance to austerity on the public services, the outsourcing of government functions, the degradation of the working conditions of the frontline public service workers and fighting corruption.

Equally, the CEC resolved that we must continue supporting the joint work of COSATU and SACP in effectively mobilising workers to fight against job-losses, casualization, austerity and the defence of collective bargaining through the Jobs and Poverty Campaign anchored on challenging the neoliberal trajectory. In this regard, the national union will mobilise its members to picket outside Legislatures and National Parliament to fight austerity measures when Members of Executive Committees responsible for provincial treasury and Minister of Finance present their budget speeches in 2023.

On Public Service, the CEC considered the Medium Term Budget Policy Statement of October 2022 in terms of the wage and other demands in the coming rounds of collective bargaining in the public service. As NEHAWU, we vow that we shall not submit to the subordination of the interests of our members and the public servants in general to the policy dictates of the Treasury and the imperialist institutions such as the IMF and the sovereign rating agencies. We are resolute and shall remain steadfast that in the coming rounds of bargaining we shall reject any government offer that is below the cost of living or that seeks to trade-off our wage demands with the retrenchment of public servants. We shall not waver or concede an inch in our call for the unconditional implementation of clause 3.3 of Resolution 1 of 2018.

On Health, the meeting agreed to drive our Health Programme as part of our Public Service Delivery Campaign especially with Parliament having concluded deliberation on the National Health Insurance Bill. The CEC calls on President Cyril Ramaphosa to speedily assent it into law and its implementation by the national and provincial health departments.

On Education, the national union will convene the national and provincial education committees to drive our education programme. This would include the drive for the transformation of post-schooling system, the Right to Learn Campaign and fighting for a student funding model that builds on the current gains to advance the course of a free post-schooling education system.

As NEHAWU, we reiterate our opposition to the stripping of ESKOM’s assets and the privatisation of the country’s electricity generation. We condemn government and ESKOM on their dismal failure in turning around the entity’s operations to end load-shedding and to reposition it to build infrastructure for the renewable sources of electricity.

Equally, we reject the Just Energy Transition Investment Plan (JET-IP) whose implementation is going to lead a heavy debt burden on the country and the drastic and unnecessary shutdown of the existing coal-fired power stations even before the end of their life cycles, with devastating consequences for mining and petrochemical value-chains as well as on the livelihoods of workers in those industries and communities.


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: