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Union sends ‘strong warning’ to Premier Saul

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Nehawu says it was never consulted over the decision to place a moratorium on all vacant posts in the Northern Cape.

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THE NATIONAL Education, Health and Allied Workers’ Union (Nehawu) has warned Northern Cape Premier Dr Zamani Saul that it will begin campaigning for his resignation if he continues to make decisions without the union’s input.

Nehawu provincial secretary Steffen Cornelius stated on Monday that the union was never consulted before the decision was made to place a moratorium on all vacant posts in the Northern Cape until the new financial year.

“The Eiffel Tower and palace politics from which the premier seeks to run the provincial administration continues to harm workers. We are worried by the Tito-midnight-chief tendencies that are being displayed by the premier. We want to remind him that there is no super department in the provincial administration, especially not the provincial Treasury,” said Cornelius.

“Nehawu takes serious exception to the instruction by the premier that all provincial departments must surrender their Persal systems to the provincial Treasury.”

Cornelius claimed that while the premier paid lip service to rooting out corruption in government, to date no action had been taken to recoup funds that went missing from the Department of Health, the Department of Sport, Arts and Culture and the provincial legislature.

“Nehawu in the Province wants to send a strong message to the premier and caution him against continuously agitating workers and imposing unilateral decisions that affect its members and workers,” said Cornelius.

“Workers in the public service continue to be overworked, threatened and abused by managers. If this trend continues, we will have no other option but to move into combat mode, which may lead us to an unfortunate but necessary point of demanding the resignation of the premier.”

Cornelius indicated that the moratorium on vacant posts would have an impact on the appointment of front-line workers in the health sector during the Covid-19 pandemic.

“Front-line workers continue to serve our communities with distinction since the lockdown, without taking any leave of absence, while others have perished in the line of duty. They sacrificed themselves and served our people with limited personal protective equipment (PPE) while funds for their protection was shared amongst unscrupulous tenderpreneurs.

“We reject this decision with the contempt it deserves and regard it as a slap in the face for many unemployed young people and graduates in the Province.

“More importantly, this is a direct attack on our members and workers who are highly overworked and exploited by our government because of under-staffing.”

ANC provincial secretary Deshi Ngxanga stated that the party had held preliminary engagements with the leadership of Cosatu and the provincial government.

“We will have further engagements with the tripartite alliance during the course of the week,” said Ngxanga.

“We are cognisant of the effects that the Covid-19 pandemic has had on our economy and are in full support of the measures that the government is putting in place in an effort to mitigate its effects. The current situation we find ourselves in calls on all of us to be pragmatic in our approach.”

He extended his gratitude to workers who were tirelessly fighting the Covid-19 pandemic and his sincerest condolences to the families of those who have lost loved ones during this time.

The Office of the Premier acknowledged receipt of a media enquiry but did not respond by the time of going to publication.

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