In­trigue ends Ne­hawu strike

CityPress - - News -

In­tri­cate power plays in the tri­par­tite al­liance led to an agree­ment to set­tle the month-long strike at Par­lia­ment, which left work­ers dis­sat­is­fied and might have im­pli­ca­tions in the ANC’s race to elect a new pres­i­dent.

Par­lia­ment’s pre­sid­ing of­fi­cers, in­clud­ing Na­tional Assem­bly Speaker Baleka Mbete, drew a line in the sand and did not budge on the de­mands of the Na­tional Ed­u­ca­tion, Health and Al­lied Work­ers’ Union (Ne­hawu) that its al­most 1 000 mem­bers should not face dis­ci­plinary ac­tion or fi­nan­cial reper­cus­sions aris­ing from the un­pro­tected strike.

Mbete, who is also ANC chair­per­son, is be­lieved to have am­bi­tions to suc­ceed Pres­i­dent Ja­cob Zuma when his term is up. But her hard line on the strike has placed her on the wrong side of Ne­hawu, which is the largest union in labour fed­er­a­tion Cosatu, an al­liance part­ner.

Union pres­i­dent Mzwandile Mak­way­iba was not able to get the con­ces­sions, in con­trast to Gaut­eng’s co­op­er­a­tive gov­er­nance and tra­di­tional af­fairs MEC, Ja­cob Mam­abolo, whose po­lit­i­cal in­ter­ven­tion in the Pik­itup strike en­sured that none of the SA Mu­nic­i­pal Work­ers’ Union strik­ers would be pe­nalised through the no-work, no-pay prin­ci­ple.

Ne­hawu was one of the unions that voiced its sup­port for Deputy Pres­i­dent Cyril Ramaphosa to be the next ANC pres­i­dent at the re­cent Cosatu con­gress, a move that Mbete would have seen as a slap in the face for her pres­i­den­tial am­bi­tions.

Mbete has pre­vi­ously said she was ready to be South Africa’s next pres­i­dent. She said: “As a cadre of the African Na­tional Congress and a leader in so­ci­ety, I’m ready to play any role I’m asked to play.”

Ac­cord­ing to me­dia re­ports, Mbete said the ANC Women’s League should use its in­flu­ence to make a case for a fe­male pres­i­dent.

On Fri­day, lead­ers of Ne­hawu’s Par­lia­ment branch briefed the strik­ing work­ers. They said that al­though the agree­ment was not what they had hoped for, it was a done deal.

An­disiwe Mak­i­nana

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from South Africa

© PressReader. All rights reserved.