Monday December 11, 2023

The National Education, Health and Allied Workers’ Union [NEHAWU] convened its third Central Executive Committee [CEC] of the 12th National Congress on the 06th – 08th December 2023.

The CEC considered the international context, national political and socio-economic situations and organisational matters affecting our members and the working class in general. The CEC also assessed progress in the implementation of the 2023 programme of action and adopted a 2024 programme of action.

The CEC took place a few days before the conclusion of the annual campaign of 16 Days of Activism against Gender-Based Violence which is geared towards preventing and eliminating violence against women and children. As NEHAWU, we pledge to deepen our level of consciousness and activism in the struggle for gender and women’s emancipation and we shall intensify the campaign to extend the 16 days of activism against women and children from 16 days to 365 days.

The CEC meeting also took place against the background of a resounding and successful 14th International Congress of World Federation of Trade Union Trade Union International Public Service and Allied [WFTU-TUI-PS&A] wherein our General Secretary, Comrade Zola Saphetha was re-elected as the General Secretary of TUI-PS&A. The CEC congratulated the re-election of Comrade Saphetha and also passed its congratulations to President Mike Shingange for his election as Vice-President of the World Federation of Trade Unions [WFTU].  Indeed the national union has been bestowed with immense responsibility in the international class oriented trade union movement. 

International Situation

In the context of our international situation, the Central Executive Committee discussed the unfolding geopolitical and economic developments which have created challenges for the working-class and principal among these is the complete failure of global capitalism. Capitalism has caused unprecedented destruction of livelihoods of millions of the working class with extreme poverty, inequality, unemployment and misery for the working-class. The capitalist system has been unable to respond to the satisfaction of humanity. The CEC agreed that global capitalism is unable to sustain itself both systematically and structurally.

The CEC applauded the expansion of BRICS by six new member countries [Argentina, Egypt, Ethiopia, Iran, Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirate] at the fifteenth annual summit held in August. The CEC agreed that the developments with regards to BRICS mark a shift in the global power dynamics as BRICS now accounts for 42% of the world’s population and 36% of the economy.

The CEC strongly condemned the unfolding genocide against the Palestinian people by the Israeli Apartheid regime and pledged its unwavering solidarity support to the people of Palestine. Furthermore, the CEC agreed to work with other progressive organisations in campaigning for the total isolation of Israel, including the permanent shutdown of its embassy in South Africa. Equally, the meeting reaffirmed its support for the international campaign on Boycott, Disinvestment and Sanctions [BDS]. The CEC endorsed the World Federation Trade Unions [WFTU] campaign for humanitarian support in aid of the people of Gaza.

The CEC reiterated the call for an immediate end to the war in Ukraine. Apart from skyrocketing prices of energy, fuel and food, the war carries far too many dangers, including the possibility of a full-blown escalation. 

The CEC also discussed the unfolding developments in the African Continent, which include major progress on the rollout and implementation of the African Continental Free Trade Agreement [AfCFTA], accelerated digital transformation as well as a continuation of military coups, which have a major bearing on the future of African continent.

The meeting agreed and reiterated our commitment to continue our international solidarity campaigns with workers in Swaziland, Zimbabwe, and with the people of Western Sahara, Palestine, Cuba and Venezuela as well as concretising the bilateral relations with existing sister unions and to forge new relations with unions across the world.

The CEC resolved to convene an International Relations Committee in February 2024 to among others further our broad analysis on the international front.

National Political Situation

On domestic front, the CEC made an in-depth assessment on the state of our National Democratic Revolution [NDR] and also reflected on the 2024 National Elections. 

The CEC reaffirmed our perspective that the National Democratic Revolution [NDR] is at a critical point of stagnation – facing multiple threats from various social forces that are fundamentally opposed to the transformation agenda. In this regard, the CEC called on the organised working class led by our Socialist-Axis to take responsibility and leadership role as the primary motive force in the NDR as part of our struggle for socialism.

Furthermore, the CEC agreed on the task of building a powerful socialist movement of the workers and the poor in the terrain of deepening of the National Democratic Revolution.

On the 2024 National Elections, the entry point of the CEC was to reaffirm the correctness of our resolutions and that of COSATU 14th National Congress Resolution that the South African Communist Party [SACP] must contest elections. However, with the SACP having resolved to contest within the reconfigured alliance, the CEC after frank and robust deliberations agreed to defend the gains of our revolution by aligning with COSATU and SACP in campaigning for an outright majority victory for the African National Congress [ANC] in the 2024 national elections.

The organised working class cannot fold its arms whilst watching a fraudulent right-wing takeover unfold through an elite power-grab arrangement as orchestrated through the Multi-Party Charter, post-elections. Our key message is that for us the South African Communist Party is our choice as the vanguard of the working class and the ANC is our option in this coming elections as the leading component of the Alliance. Therefore, we shall spare no available resources in making our contribution to ensure the defeat of these counter-revolutionary forces and their imperialist sponsors. 

The national union will post the National Elections convene a national political school to make an assessment of the outcomes of the elections and the state of the NDR, with a view to work towards a concrete analysis to guide our review and strengthening of our strategic perspective and political programme.

Socio-Economic Situation

The CEC noted with concern that the South African economy continues to remain stagnant with no prospects of growth as a direct result of the neoliberal austerity programme which has been implemented since 2015 and intensified from 2020 by the sixth administration. The economy is expected to grow by less than 1% this year and to average by 1.4% up to the 2026/2027 financial year.

Indeed, this dire economic situation has resulted to the current crisis of deepening unemployment, inequality and poverty that confronts millions of our people. South Africa remains the most unequal society in the world. We are extremely disappointed by the lack of courage, urgency and decisiveness from government on the pressing need to address the economic crisis and the crisis of social reproduction facing our people.

The CEC condemned the National Treasury’s austerity offensive which continues to generate record levels of unemployment and poverty rates, whilst inequalities continue to deepen. The CEC agreed that these austerity measures are an offensive against the public servants by Treasury, and wider implications for the state to deliver services in health, education, policing etc.

On Health, the CEC welcomed the recent developments regarding the passing of the NHI Bill by Parliament. In this regard, the union reiterates its call for President Ramaphosa to sign the Bill into law before the end of the sixth administration. The passing of the NHI Bill by Parliament represents a major break-through in the quest of providing adequate healthcare to all South Africans regardless of economic status and dismantling the existing illogical and highly unequal two-tier healthcare system. Equally, the CEC condemned all those opposing the NHI like the Democratic-Alliance, Freedom Front Plus, Discovery and Business Lobbyists. The national union remains steadfast in support of the National Health Insurance towards the realisation of universal health coverage and transformation of the healthcare sector.

On Educationas NEHAWU, we are revolted by the decision of National Treasury to cut NSFAS allocations with R3 Billion over the medium-term. This decision to cut NSFAS allocations goes totally against the ANC Resolutions on Free Education and the demands of the Free Charter. Equally, the CEC expressed serious concern about the state of governance and administration in various institutions of higher learning. As such, the CEC concluded that the union working with SASCO and the PYA must mount a serious campaign to fight against corruption, maladministration, cuts in student funding and lack of governance in institutions.

On the Two-Pot Retirement Scheme, the CEC expressed its displeasure on the intention by Treasury to postpone the implementation of the Two-Pot scheme to September 2024 in order to prioritise its budget envelope with regard to its plan to reduce the headcount of the current public service workforce through the a voluntary severance package. The CEC agreed to work with COSATU in educating and raising awareness about the scheme in the best interest of our members and workers.

On Unemployment Insurance Fund,the CEC expressed grave concern about the administration and governance of the fund especially following serious allegations of corruption levelled against Minister Thulas Nxesi. Given the seriousness of the allegations, we call on law enforcement agencies to institute investigations on the allegations of corruption and maladministration at the UIF.

On the Rand Manipulation, the CEC categorically condemned the manipulation of the Rand and Dollar exchange by the implicated 28 banks and calls for the criminal prosecution of those involved rather than just the imposition of fines. This is part of the widespread corruption engulfing the private sector and that has infected the public sector through the tenders and public-private-partnerships.

Lastly, the CEC has resolved to intensify the fight against the ongoing mindless neoliberal restructuring of the workplace, corporate agentification, privatisation of the public service institutions and departments. The union will target strategic pro-austerity government activities and departments such as Treasury, the Departments of Health and Higher Education and Training for mass campaigns and actions against austerity.


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: