Sex case: leglislature Nehawu branch dissolved

2013-09-09 00:00

IN a move suspected to be linked to the sexual harassment scandal at the KwaZulu-Natal Legislature, the dominant union branch at the institution has been dissolved.

According to Zola Saphetha, National Education Health Allied Workers’ Union (Nehawu) provincial secretary, the decision was taken on Friday afternoon that the union, representing almost all the 231 administrative staff at the seat of provincial government, would no longer be operational.

It is widely believed that the catalyst for action against the branch is linked to suspended senior provincial government communications officer Wesley Canham, who was found guilty of sexual harassment in a disciplinary hearing held at the legislature last month. He is currently appealing the ruling.

Saphetha said Canham had told him he was not represented by the union at his hearing because he did not trust the branch.

“By Thursday, we will appoint a team to co-ordinate a proper constituted branch congress [where members will elect a new branch leadership].

“The branch was disbanded due to irregularities we found in how the union operates at both a political and organisational level,” said Saphetha. He said the branch had not been representing its members responsibly.

He said an urgent meeting would be called with management on Thursday morning to discuss the relationship with the union.

“There are a number of issues we as the provincial leadership must bring to the table. We want to discuss the alleged possible interference by senior managers in the sexual harassment claim against Wesley Canham. We will also want to renegotiate the three-year collective agreement the branch struck with the legislature this year, as we don’t believe they fully represented our members,” he said.

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