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New cabinet must implement NHI - NEHAWU

NEHAWU statement on the announcement of the Cabinet

29 May 2019

The National Education, Health and Allied Workers’ Union [NEHAWU] welcomes the announcement of the incoming Minister and Deputy Ministers as announced by the President of the Republic, Honourable Cyril Matamela Ramaphosa.

Firstly, we welcome the reduction of ministries as a means to have a leaner and efficient government that will be preoccupied with prioritising service delivery. However, we want to outright caution against any loss of jobs as a result of this move by the President. Furthermore, these measures must not lead to budget cuts in terms of the existing programmes which ultimately leads to job losses.

Secondly, our view is that this should be about the closure of ministries as opposed to departments. The latter must be absorbed or integrated in the related existing departments. We hope this would not lead to a job blood bath of the coal-face public service jobs. Should jobs be lost in this fashion we will fight fire with fire. As NEHAWU, we are more than ready to wage a relentless war should any of our members and workers lose jobs because of this move.

The new administration must immediately focus on the speedy implementation of the National Health Insurance [NHI] and comprehensive social security, implementation of free higher education, reindustrialization of the South African economy and the intensification of the fight and defeat corruption and state capture. We welcome the inclusion of unemployment as part of the Department of Labour. Unemployment is at a crisis level with 27.6% of the population without any job. We hope the department will come up with creative means to end unemployment as part of the triple challenges.

We are elated that the President has prioritised the monitoring and evaluation of the performance of those deployed to serve in the well balanced Cabinet drawn from different sectors of society. It is our firm view that service delivery can only be speed up by women and men who are more determined to go beyond the call of duty and who are more than willing to serve the people of South Africa with distinction. We hope the President will keep his word and get rid of Minister and Deputy Minister who will not be pulling their weight in the new administration.

We congratulate all those appointed especially our former General Secretary, Cde Fikile “Slovo” Majola, who has been appointed as Deputy Minister of Trade and Industry. We also congratulate Cde Senzo Mchunu for being appointed the Minister of Public Service and Administration and we hope to have a good working relationship with him in transforming the public service. At the top of our agenda is the filling of vacant posts in the public service and the continuation of the work done in relation process of ensuring that more than 850 000 public servants are able to access their own homes through the GEHS driven scheme.

We also note the return on the former Minister of Finance which we hope that in this term he will abide by the vision of the African National Congress [ANC] and not deviate from it. The national union is vehemently opposed to his misguided view that the public service is bloated and must be cut down. If he persist with this view we are more than ready to meet fire with fire. Our members are at the coalface of service delivery and on a daily basis they have stories to tell on how they are overstretched to perform tasks that are not part of their job description without being remunerated for it.

As a union organising in the state we are looking forward to work with all the new Ministers and hope that we will work hand in glove in ensuring that service delivery is upscaled, workers are paid decent wages and they work in improved working environment. In this regard, we will urgently meet all ministers to discuss a speedily implementation aimed at improving service delivery to our people and working conditions of our members and workers in general.

Issued by Khaya Xaba, Media Liaison, NEHAWU, 30 May 2019