The National Education Health and Allied Workers’ Union (NEHAWU) convened its ordinary National Executive Committee (NEC) meeting on the 30-31st October 2016. 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 meeting paid tribute to the two icons and stalwarts of our liberation movement, Cde. Oliver Reginald Kaizana Tambo and Cde. Samora Moisés Machel, who have served the masses of the people in our region with steadfastness and distinctions. As NEHAWU, we call for an official inquest into the untimely death of Samora Machel.
The NEC noted that global capitalism is now approaching a decade in crisis, which spectacularly exploded with the 2009 economic downturn. In this regard, all the standard instruments in the Neoliberal tool-box have been used and are exhausted – and now Neoliberalism has no answers. Thus, this conjunctural crisis is beginning to manifest itself in the body politic threatening to develop into an all-round organic crisis, as the traditional centre-right and centre-left bourgeois parties are losing ground to the resurgent radical-left movements and ultra-right forces.
On the other hand, western imperialism is becoming ever more aggressive as it escalates proxy-wars and regime-change projects in the Arab Peninsula, South America, East Asia and Africa. The NEC supports the right of the Syrian people to defend their country’s sovereignty, in their fight against sectarian divisions and the occupation of the country by foreign-paid mercenaries with active support of Saudi and Qatari backed terrorist forces.
The NEC meeting also took place while we are fresh from the historic, resounding and successful 17th World Trade Union Congress of the World Federation of Trade Unions (WFTU) held in Durban on the 5-8 October. The Congress bestowed our union an immense honour and responsibility in electing our President, Cde Mzwandile Makwayiba, as the President of more than 92 million strong membership organised in 111 countries and 5 continents.
With this responsibility, our primary task is to build WFTU on the African continent and to strengthen the Trade Union International (TUI) of Public and Allied Employees which held its 12th congress last year. We are confident that the WFTU congress would inspired our federation COSATU to final conclude affiliation to WFTU.
As part of the deliberations on the international situation, as NEHAWU:
- We reiterate our support of the South African government on its decision to withdraw from the International Criminal Court (ICC) in line with Article 127 of the Rome Statute. In this regard, we condemn the DA, a ridiculous purveyor of western imperialist interests for dragging the South African government to court, thereby giving tacit support to this criminal hypocrisy and negating our country’s sovereignty.
- In addition to our ongoing support of the struggling peoples of Swaziland, Basque, Kurdistan and Western Sahara, the NEC reiterates its support for the Palestinian people. Thus, we oppose Israel’s attempts to gain an observer status in the African Union, whilst it continues with the occupation of Palestine and the discrimination of its Arab and black citizens.
- The NEC extends solidarity to the people of Venezuela and the Bolivarian revolution led by President Maduro. We oppose attempts of a parliamentary coup by the reactionary right-wing opposition.
- As part of marking the 20th anniversary of Cuba-South African relations, our solidarity actions will be intensified focussing on overcoming the genocidal US blockade against Cuba.
National political situation and socioeconomic situation
On the home front, the NEC noted with concern that the persistent low economic growth since 2009 is aggravating the socioeconomic crisis afflicting millions of our people living in townships, shack settlements and rural areas, especially in the face of rampant corruption, fruitless and wasteful expenditure of scarce resources by the political elite in government and state-owned companies. This is taking place despite the unambiguous message sent out by the ANC’s historical electoral base during the 2016 Local Government Elections.
Whilst monopoly capital remains the fundamental enemy of the working class and NDR, the NEC was unanimous in its condemnation of factionalism within the ANC which is driven by what has become the immediate enemy of the working class and NDR, namely the parasitic bourgeoisie. The NEC also condemns the manipulation and use of state organs for a narrow factional agenda. In this regard, NEHAWU calls on the SABC Board to be dissolved and for NPA head Shaun Abrahams to be relieved of his duties because of his lack of fitness to hold office.
Everything considered, including the deepening socio-economic crisis, lack of strategic oversight and leadership in government, declining hope amongst our people and the ever swirling scandalous revelations of corruption, the NEC has come to a conclusion that it can no longer be denied that the leadership of President Jacob Zuma in government is now untenable.
Whilst we believe that no single individual, even as President of the country, can be solely responsible for all the socioeconomic and political ills in our society and whilst we appreciate that Comrade Jacob Zuma has served our struggle well over the years, the organised working class cannot stand idle by and be silent when it is clear that the revolution is taking a disastrous trajectory as it needlessly lurches from crisis to crisis.
Therefore NEHAWU calls on Comrade Jacob Zuma to take the honourable and courageous decision in the interest of the ANC and our people by ensuring that by the time the ANC goes to the General Elections in 2019 he is no longer the head of state. Indeed, as part of its own decision to overcome challenges of factionalism and in the interest of unity and cohesion, we call on the national leadership of the ANC to take a unifying decision on his succession as the President of South Africa. In this regard, the NEC calls on the ANC to invoke the precedent practice whereby the current Deputy President Comrade Cyril Ramaphosa would succeed Comrade Jacob Zuma.
We are making this call whilst being painfully conscious of the poisoned climate of factional contestation within the ANC that would make it difficult for the ANC to arrive at a broadly supported solution to the current tragic impasse. Nonetheless, as NEHAWU we expect the ANC and President Jacob Zuma to rise to the occasion in the interests of the ANC and the masses of our people.
The NEC appreciates that the SACP remains united and cohesive, with a growing membership, vast organisational capacity and continuing to play a crucial vanguard role in the interest of the working class. Thus, we pledge to support the SACP as it builds its strategic capacity and look forward as part of our federation to engage with its discussion document of the State Power Commission and the draft Great October Socialist Revolution Centenary Programme 2017 ahead of its 14th Congress next year.
The NEC appreciates that our federation is steadily regaining its strength despite the serious challenges that some of its affiliates still face. Hence, under the circumstances we are proud of the fact that our federation has confounded its detractors in organising resoundingly successful May Day rallies throughout the country and mass protests on the national Day of Action on the 7th October 2016. As part of the deliberations on the national political and socioeconomic situation, the NEC took the following decisions:
- To mobilise for COSATU’s Section 77 in support of the demands of the university students led by the Progressive Youth Alliance.
- To fight against the creation of the Border Management Authority.
- To call on government to implement the current PSCBC Resolution 2 of 2015 in its totality.
- To condemn the attempts by the Minister of Finance, Pravin Gordhan to predetermine the outcome of the next round of collective bargaining at the PSCBC through the Medium Term Budget Policy Statement. In this regard, the NEC mandated the national union to meet with the Minister.
Issued by NEHAWU Secretariat