Nehawu gears up for N West march

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The National Education, Health and Allied Workers’ Union (Nehawu) says it is all systems go for its nationwide march to be held in Mahikeng in the North West on Wednesday.

Members from across the country will be in the province’s capital to march to the Provincial Legislature, where they will hand over a memorandum with their demands.

This is in relation to the crisis currently facing all government departments in the province, including the office of the Premier.

A sea of red will march through Mahikeng’s streets on Wednesday with Nehawu, reiterating its demands of the past few months; at the centre is the provincial Department of Health, plagued by alleged corruption.

Service delivery at clinics and hospitals has been crippled by a go slow by Nehawu members, since February.

While the union welcomes efforts by the Inter-Ministerial team appointed to investigate governance in the province, it believes most of the efforts are glossing over serious problems.

“Under the current circumstances of the North West being under section 100, it is not something to celebrate. It is something to be ashamed of because it signals that we have a bankruptcy of leadership.  Well, as Nehawu we don’t believe we have a bankruptcy of leadership; it’s a matter of the current existing leadership that has put us in this embarrassing situation,” says Nehawu’s Provincial Secretary Patrick Makhafane.

The trade union is expected to hand over its memorandum of demands to the Minister in the Presidency, Dr Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma, the leader of the Inter-Ministerial team.

“After delivering the memorandum, as Nehawu we say we’re giving you 24 hours to respond. Failure to do that, we shall comfortably enter into a total shutdown of the areas where Nehawu members are serving,” says Makhafane.

Meanwhile, another workers’ union, Hospersa, says although Nehawu’s demands are genuine, it does not support actions that compromise lives of the innocent as Nehawu’s strikes have previously led to health services being halted.

“With everything that has been happening and with everything that Nehawu is fighting against; those are the very same things that are affecting us as Hospersa and our members. However, I must make it clear that the only point where we differ is the ‘how’ part in terms of their approach and yes we must make it clear to say we have seen the negative impact that it has especially to our communities, ” says North West Hospersa Chairperson Mzukisi Jam.

The SABC’s efforts to solicit comment from the provincial government about contingency plans in case of a two-day stay-away, have been unsuccessful.