NEHAWU National Executive Committee Statement
Monday November 07, 2022
The National Education, Health and Allied Workers’ Union [NEHAWU] convened its ordinary National Executive Committee [NEC] meeting on the 05th – 06th November 2022. The NEC considered the international context, national political and socio-economic situation and organisational matters affecting our members and the working class in general.
The NEC took place when throughout the world, capitalism is on the verge of a deep crisis as reflected in the inversion of the bond yields curves in the core capitalist economies, which means that the borrowing costs for governments are becoming most expensive in the short-term than normal – a phenomenon which is considered to be a reliable indicator of a plunged into recession.
The NEC was convened a few days after the 22nd International Meeting of Communist and Workers’ Parties [IMCWP] held in Havana, Cuba on the 27th to 29th October 2022. This international gathering discussed the current predominance of imperialism which poses an unjust and unsustainable international order, intensifies exploitation and worsens the conditions of the working people and the working class.
The NEC took stock of the outcomes of the recently held COSATU 14th National Congress and the SACP 15th National Congress. These congresses represent a decisive moment for the left-axis in the task of building a powerful socialist movement of workers and poor.
Equally, the NEC meeting was convened a month after the Communist Party of China (CPC) held its 20th National Congress under theme: “Holding high the great banner of socialism with Chinese characteristics, fully implementing the Thought of Socialism with Chinese Characteristics for a New Era, carrying forward the great founding spirit of the Party, staying confident and building strength, upholding fundamental principles and breaking new ground, forging ahead with enterprise and fortitude, and striving in unity to build a modern socialist country in all respects and advance the great rejuvenation of the Chinese nation on all fronts.”On the International Front
The NEC assessed the global crisis of neoliberal-capitalism which increased the already unprecedented levels of poverty, chronic unemployment and worsening inequality. It agreed that the decade old crisis is political, economic, social and ecological.
The World Bank’s revised global growth forecast, from 4.1% down to 2.9% for 2022, which means that the employment needs of millions of the poor unemployed will not be met. The threat of a global stagflation and recession will worsen and lead to rising social mobilisation and strikes by workers across the world. Hence, we note the resurgent militancy in continental Europe and Britain in particular.
On the Russian/Ukraine war, the NEC agreed that the war is mainly an imperialist war whose hallmark is competition over geo-strategic resources and the US-led NATO desire for hegemonic control of territories of the region including Russian territories. Backed by NATO, Ukrainian neo-fascists allow the country to be used as a theatre of war for imperialist projects. The NEC thus calls for an end to this war, the resumption of dialogue and the dissolution of military alliances.
The NEC welcomed left parties’ electoral victories in Bolivia, Chile, Colombia, Venezuela, Peru, Honduras and the victory of Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva in Brazil. These are a vital impediment to imperialism and impetus against American aggression in Latin America in general.
The NEC called upon the AU, SADC and the South African government, to force Swaziland King Mswati III into urgent dialogue with the opposition. It also underlined that in order for Zimbabwean elections in 2023 to be democratic, peaceful, and free and fair, they must entail the implementation of the Motlanthe Commission recommendations as a prerequisite.
We welcomed the peace agreement between the government of Ethiopia and the Tigray Peoples Liberation Front and agreed to analyse further the series of military coups’ in West Africa.
National Political Situation
The NEC made a comprehensive assessment of the overall national political situation and the balance of class forces. Indeed, the NEC concluded that our alliance as the working-class with the ANC was premised on the fact that the ANC was a radical national liberation movement capable of leading the oppressed masses and to champion our interest as the motive force in the immediate tasks of the National Democratic Revolution [NDR].
However, post the democratic breakthrough of 1994, this fundamentally changed with the ANC drifting towards the right in terms of its orientation in driving a neoliberal trajectory which has resulted in the current ideological coherence, deep factional divisions and organisational paralysis that have immensely contributed to the stagnation of the NDR.
The meeting agreed that successive ANC-led government administrations have been implementing neo-liberal macroeconomic policies to the detriment of the working-class, and this has reproduced the inherited the socio-economic crisis of unemployment, poverty and inequality. Currently, the sixth government administration of President Cyril Ramaphosa has aggressively heightened its drive to implement the neoliberal economic policies anchored by National Treasury.
This sixth administration of President Cyril Ramaphosa has truly exposed itself as nothing but lackeys of Bretton Wood Institutions [International Monetary Fund and the World Bank] adhering to their neoliberal prescripts to the letter. Indeed, the NEC concluded that this administration doesn’t have any interests of the working-class, infact this administration has been on the offensive in undermining collective bargaining and seeking to roll-back the workers’ gains across the public sector.
The NEC noted that the South African economy remains stagnant, noting the negative growth in the second quarter which broke seven consecutive quarters of growth since the COVID-19 induced contraction. This is on the back of neoliberal macroeconomic policies that have accelerated deindustrialisation and financialisation.
The recent Medium Term Budget Policy Statement (MTBPS) has exposed that the government is still adamant in following the prescript of a draconian austerity fiscal posture. Treasury is narrowly fixated on achieving its target of a primary fiscal surplus over the next financial year and medium-term. Equally, Treasury has placed “ higher public-service wage costs” in its Fiscal Risk Statement and has projected 3.3% average annual growth in the compensation of public service employees between 2022/23 and 2025/26, whilst at the same time government is projecting CPI inflation above 5% over the medium-term. Inflation reached a 13 year high when it was at 7.8% in July.
The NEC agreed that the union should initiate the revival of the COSATU People’s Budget Campaign as part of advancing our economic policies and socioeconomic demands. Equally, the NEC agreed that the union must begin to be actively involved with the progressive organisations campaigning for the Basic Income Grant and ensure that COSATU places it at the centre as part of the Jobs and Poverty Campaign.
On Public Service Wage Negotiations, the NEC received a report on the public service wage negotiations. The NEC reiterated the position of the union in condemning the government for undermining of collective bargaining and the rights of workers. The NEC agreed that the government is hell-bent in collapsing the collective bargaining especially the Public Service Coordinating Bargaining Council as a platform for social dialogue. This is evident with the unilateral implementation of the 3% offer that was rejected by majority of public servants at the PSCBC.
The NEC noted that on the 31st October - 1st November 2022, a conciliation was held and failed to resolve the dispute because the employer confirmed that their offer as tabled on 3rd October remains their final offer resulting in the issuing a certificate of non-resolution of the wage dispute. The NEC agreed to mobilise members towards a protracted fight in defence of collective bargaining and rights of workers.
On Healthcare, the NEC agreed that as part of the health programme in our Public Service Delivery Campaign, the union must re-establish engagement with NDOH on the NHI, Human Resources Strategy for the Health Sector: 2030, Occupational Health and Safety and the management of health institutions.
On Post-School and Training, the NEC noted the report by the Ministerial Task Team on post-schooling funding and the recommendations on further work to be done on a comprehensive funding model. As NEHAWU, we are however worried that until a new comprehensive funding model is introduced the question of the so-called ‘missing middle’ students will remain a source of institutional crisis.
Issued by NEHAWU Eastern Cape Secretariat Office
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: firstname.lastname@example.org