NEHAWU infuriated by promise to downscale public service

Union says there is already heavy under staffing due to Treasury's austerity measures


Friday August 31, 2018

The National Education, Health and Allied Workers’ Union [NEHAWU] is distraught by the confirmation by the Deputy President of the country, Honourable DD Mabuza, that the public service will be scaled down as part of cost-cutting measures.

During a question and answer session yesterday at the National Assembly the Deputy President further reinforced the assertion made by the President of the country, Honourable Cyril Ramaphosa, during the State of the Nation address in February 2018 that there is impending jobs cuts and intentions to reduce the wage bill in the public service. As NEHAWU, we forthright reject any reconfiguration of government that will result in a job bloodbath. When the media ran a story about government’s plan to shed jobs the national union warned government about such a detrimental move and vowed to fire with fire. The Department of Public Service and Administration [DPSA] quickly issued a statement to allay our fears and dispelled the notion of the impending job losses.

We are, however, infuriated by the confirmation by the Deputy President that the public service will be scaled down as part of austerity measures. As things stand, the public service is already heavily understaffed because of austerity measures introduced by National Treasury. We vehemently rejected the tired widely held but false belief that the public service is bloated. Currently we have about 1, 3 million public servants servicing a population of 52 million people. The lack of adequate personnel in the public service has resulted in service delivery being adversely affected especially in health and education. 

The national union will immediately start the process of mobilisation in the public service and society at large in preparation for a big fight against austerity measures and retrenchments. Working with other Cosatu public sector unions we will seek a meeting with government to sharply raise these issues. We also call on society at large to join our fight to save jobs.

Once again, we want to put it unequivocally clear that we will find it very difficult to support the ANC in next year General Elections if it continues to fold its arms while job losses continues unabated. The upcoming COSATU 13th National Congress will have to discuss this matter extensively and if we don’t find relief in the ANC then we might be compelled to support another organisation. If the ANC is serious about retaining power then it must not gamble with workers jobs. Workers have been consistently voting for the ruling party since the 1994 General Elections but that can change if the ANC does not take serious the issue of job security.

Statement issued by NEHAWU Secretariat, 31 August 2018