‘No KZN crisis,’ say Nehawu team

2012-07-09 00:00

A BITTER battle that played out in the KwaZulu-Natal regional offices of the National Education Health and Allied Workers Union (Nehawu) last month does not amount to a crisis, according to the union’s national president.

Mzwandile Makwayiba came to the province on Friday as part of a heavyweight team, following a call for intervention which saw three regional offices within KZN close down as groups of members said they wanted provincial secretary, Zola Saphetha, removed.

Protesters had locked three of the four offices, bringing union business to a standstill.

They had claimed that Saphetha had “dictatorially” suspended Nehawu’s popular Harry Gwala regional secretary Khaye Nkwanyana and three senior officials from Durban — one from the union’s provincial office and two from the Durban regional office.

They also called for intervention by the Congress of South African Trade Unions (Cosatu). Hence, the presence of Cosatu president, Sdumo Dlamini, and former Nehawu provincial secretary, Supa Zuma, who is the ANC’s regional secretary for the Moses Mabhida region, at Friday’s meeting.

Denying there was any crisis, Makwayiba defended Saphetha, saying that he was elected democratically by the Nehawu members.

On the lockout, Makwayiba said those involved had been suspended.

Makwayiba said that Khaye Nkanyana, the suspended Harry Gwala regional secretary, had not submitted regional reports and his region called for him to be investigated and suspended.

Makwayiba said if a special meeting was convinced that the suspended and expelled members showed remorse for their action, a report would be submitted to the provincial executive committee to recommend whether they should be reinstated or not. Friday’s meeting agreed that the suspensions would still stand until the matters leading to the suspension had been properly resolved.

Makwayiba said KZN was Nehawu second biggest province in terms of membership, and the executive did “expect challenges from time to time, but the leadership is dealing with them”.

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