March not aimed at kicking Gordhan out - Nehawu

2017-02-22 12:33
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Cape Town – The National Health Education and Allied Workers' Union's (Nehawu) march to Parliament to hand over a list of demands to Finance Minister Pravin Gordhan has nothing to do with political infighting, the union's spokesperson Khaya Xaba said on Wednesday.

The march in Cape Town coincides with Gordhan's Budget Speech and Nehawu plans to give him the memorandum before he addresses Parliament.

"We are against the narrative that this march is to kick out Pravin," said Xaba. "We are not interested in internal ANC battles or talks of reshuffling [the Cabinet]. Our members must just be able to put bread on the table," he said.

Gordhan has had a torrid time since he stepped back into the post after a disastrous weekend in December 2015 when Des Van Rooyen replaced Nhlanhla Nene as finance minister. Van Rooyen was later appointed to head the Department of Co-operative Governance and Traditional Affairs instead. It has been widely speculated that former Eskom boss Brian Molefe might replace Gordhan.

Nehawu has planned a "National Day of Action" against Treasury and the Department of Public Service and Administration during which marches will be held by members across the country.

Nehawu members in Cape Town march to Parliament
Nehawu members in Cape Town march to Parliament. (Jenni Evans/News24)

Xaba said union members are worried about the impact that Gordhan's austerity measures are having on the government entities they work for and their ability to provide for their families.

Workers 'tired, dejected'

"We are sick and tired of how he is running the department, and from time to time he uses the fear of ratings agencies and a possible downgrade to junk status to justify what he is doing," said Xaba.

The freezing of vacant posts in the public service and low wage increases in the sector have left workers tired and dejected and unable to carry out the government's policy of service to the people, he explained.

The people suffering the most because of this were pensioners, social grant recipients and children, he said.

"It is them who are at the clinic at 04:00 to wait for the whole day in a queue and perhaps even leave unattended to," he said.

"Sometimes there is one nurse to 30 patients and this reflects badly on government and more staff cannot be hired because of budget cuts."

Xaba said austerity measures had also led to medicine shortages.

Among some of Nehawu's other demands is the introduction of the proposed National Health Insurance.

Other marches have been planned for Tshwane, East London and Durban.

WATCH: Nehawu marches to Parliament 




Read more on:    nehawu  |  budget 2017  |  pravin gordhan  |  cape town  |  protests  |  labour

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