Home News “Expelled” Nehawu regional office bearers, branch leaders head back to court

“Expelled” Nehawu regional office bearers, branch leaders head back to court

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This after failing to secure the support of the national office to enable them to return to their posts.

London Kopa and Thamsanqua Mkhila. File image. Picture: Danie van der Lith

THE EXPELLED National Education, Health and Allied Workers’ Union (Nehawu) regional office bearers and branch leaders who won a court order against their suspension and termination of membership will be returning to court, after failing to secure the support of the national office to enable them to return to their posts.

A judgement was awarded in the Northern Cape High Court on December 4 where it stated that the suspension and termination of the membership of the Nehawu regional offices bearers and branch leaders in 2019 – London Kopa, Thamsanqua Mkhila, Tumi Majola, Thembisa Mlatha, Kgalalelo Maketlo, Gloria Manzana and Itumeleng Modise, was “contrary to the principles of natural justice which prejudiced the applicants” where the “provisions of the Nehawu constitution were contravened”.

It was indicated that the suspensions were unlawful as the members were suspended, without them being subjected to any disciplinary proceedings, or the national executive committee (NEC) ratifying the decision.

Nehawu provincial secretary Steffen Cornelius on Tuesday indicated that a meeting was convened by the central executive committee on December 7-8 where all national office bearers affirmed their support for the Frances Baard regional office bearers who were elected at the regional congress held in February this year.

“Moreover, the meeting also endorsed the eligibility of the current office bearers. The members who took the matter to court will face internal disciplinary processes as directed by the court.

“The meeting directed the current regional office bearers of Frances Baard region to continue to service members, build the union and ensure that they defend all frontline workers as we enter the second wave of Covid-19 infections.”

He added that a special Provincial Executive Committee (PEC) meeting was held on December 14 to discuss the high court ruling regarding the suspension and expulsion of members.

Former regional chairperson London Kopa indicated that the applicants in the court case were surprised that their membership had been terminated without their knowledge.

“We noticed that our membership fees were not deducted on the December payroll. The union failed to inform us or provide reasons why our membership was terminated. The various departments where we are employed, must explain to the court who instructed them to suspend our membership payments.”

He added that they would be returning to court on an urgent basis as the national and provincial offices of Nehawu, as well as the Nehawu national secretary Zola Sephetha, Nehawu provincial secretary Steffen Cornelius, the Departments of Health and the Department of Co-operative Governance, Human Settlements and Traditional Affairs were in contempt of court.

“We want the matter to be finalised before the court recess. We will also be applying to interdict the provincial congress. It would be easy for us to join another union or start our own but we are to fight to the bitter end and will not be a sell out to our members.”

Kopa believed that their removal was politically motivated.

“We are being dealt with because as shopstewards and office bearers we were fighting for the insourcing of security services as we had for cleaning and gardening services at government departments. The union is wasting the money of its members by taking us to court every time.”

The former regional secretary Thami Mkhila added that they would be meeting with their lawyers “soon” to prepare the urgent court application.

“The provincial office of Nehawu never met with us to find an amicable solution. As they are contravening the court order, we will have no other choice but to go back to court.”