NEHAWU Refutes Claims By Minister Nzimande That It Was Consulted On The Return of Workers and Student Campuses
Thursday October 1, 2020
The National Education, Health and Allied Workers’ Union [NEHAWU] refutes the misleading claims by the Minister of Higher Education and Training that consultation took place with organised labour on the return to campuses for workers and students in the post-schooling sector.
NEHAWU wants to put it on record that last time consultations took place was when the country was moved to level 3. We find it very peculiar that the Minister would claim to have consulted us when it actual fact that consultation never took place. If the Minister had indeed consulted us then we would have voiced our opinion on the 100% return of workers and students to campuses.
The national union has been calling for the establishment of health and safety committee in both universities and Technical and Vocational Education and Training [TVET] Colleges including the provision of adequate Personal Protective Equipment [PPEs] and screening testing facilities in campuses. All of these necessities have done been provided.
A fact-finding mission report by our reliable ally, the South African Students Congress [SASCO] painted a bleak picture on how institutions of higher learning were dealing with the outbreak of COVID-19. This prompts us to believe that they are fully ready with the 100% return of workers and students. Our members and workers have been complaining about intermittent supply of PPEs. Even the PPEs they receive are not of good quality.
As the union, we have scheduled a meeting with our members through the national higher education sector meeting on the 6th October 2020 to ascertain whether the conditions are conducive for a 100% returning back to universities. Even if the Minister was to consult us we would have had to consult our members in the sector as part of our internal processes to get a clear picture on the state of readiness of these institutions of higher learning. In this regard, we are challenging the Minister to prove to the public that we were consulted as we did not receive any invite from his office calling us to comment or participate in the consultation process.
As an important stakeholder in the sector our views are important and they can help save innocent lives. NEHAWU will be meeting the Minister tomorrow and will raise this issue very sharply. It is imperative for us to register our dissatisfaction having warned him in August 2019 on the implications of extending the contract of the National Students Financial Aid Scheme [NSFAS] Administrator’s contract which he did again this year, the non-implementation of 2018 TVET/CET settlement agreement and SETAs managerial and governance challenges.
NEHAWU remains a constructive partner in the higher education sector and more than ready to contribute in the creation of campuses that promotes the health and safety of the campus communities.
Issued by NEHAWU Secretariat
Zola Saphetha (General Secretary) at 082 558 5968;
December Mavuso (Deputy General Secretary) at 082 558 5969;
Khaya Xaba (NEHAWU National Spokesperson) at 082 455 2500