The National Education, Health and Allied Workers’ Union [NEHAWU] is dismayed by the directive on cost containment measures by National Treasury to government departments.

The Treasury has directed departments to implement cost containment measures which include amongst others the freezing of hiring new employees in the public service. As NEHAWU, we view this as Treasury’s persistence with its intensified austerity programme.  

We are not totally shocked by the directive as Treasury indicated during this year’s Budget Statement threatening that “a public-service wage agreement that exceeds the rate of growth of the compensation budget, would require steps to contain overall compensation spending through stricter headcount management.”

The directive on freezing employing personnel in the public service is indeed that stricter headcount management amidst a high vacancy rate and understaffing in the public service which contributes significantly in impeding service delivery. 

Our members and workers who are at the coalface of service delivery are overworked and there is no improvement in pay and conditions of work. The treasury finds absolutely nothing wrong with instructing departments to halt employing additional personnel in order to render quality public service to the nation. 

As NEHAWU, we cannot comprehend the logic of Treasury through the directive on freezing the hiring new employees when the country is confronted with skyrocketing unemployment rate, poverty and inequality. The decision goes against need to strengthen the capacity of the state through the filling of vacancies in the public service to address the needs of our people. Equally, it is against the quest building of a capable and developmental state that intervenes to societal needs.

We reiterate our call for government and National Treasury to end the moratorium on vacancies in order to improve the capacity of state to deliver quality public services. 

Lastly, we will continue our campaign against the implementation of austerity measures by the Government and National Treasury in particular. 


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: