Protest shuts down TVET colleges

2019-02-27 06:00
PHOTO: lethiwe makhanyaNehawu members protesting on Monday.

PHOTO: lethiwe makhanyaNehawu members protesting on Monday.

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FOUR out of six TVET colleges under Umgungundlovu have been shut down due to an ongoing strike by Nehawu National Health Education and Allied Workers Union (Nehawu) members.

These colleges were closed last Thursday after Nehawu launched their national shutdown strike on February 13 because the Department of Higher Education has not responded to memorandums that were sent in 2016, 2017 and 2018. Another memorandum was handed to the department last Thursday.

On Monday, members of Nehawu protested outside the Msunduzi and Midlands campuses, which they identified as the most problematic as some staff refused to stop working.

The members protested at the Msunduzi campus last Friday which resulted in the arrest of Nehawu Regional Secretary Zamisile Giyama.

Giyama appeared briefly in the Pietermaritzburg Magistrates court on Monday, facing a charge of public violence, however, the charge was withdrawn.

Nehawu Regional Chairperson and Cosatu provincial Chairperson Skhumbuzo Mdlalose said that it appears that the Department of Higher Education is ignoring their demands.


• Full time employment for contract workers

• Release of all outstanding certificates and diplomas

• Infrastructure grant

• In-source all outsourced services

• Recognition of South African Further Education and Training Student Association (Safetsa)

Mdlalose said: “If the employer does not care about the employees and their grievances, we are going to continue to disturb the operations until they listen to us Instead of attending to our issues the employer called the police, who were heavily armed, while they were having a peaceful strike. Nine of the workers were injured and admitted to hospital.

“Workers are just fighting for their rights. They want decent jobs and salaries with all the benefits.You cannot have a contract employee for five years. If you manage to keep that person for five years, it means his or her job is permanent so he/she must be employed permanently,” he said.

Mdlalose said they tried to negotiate with the employer last week but no resolution was found.

He reiterated they are going to strike until employees issues have been resolved.

Department of Higher Education spokesperson Lunga Ngqengelele said the shutdown of campuses is not only happening in Pietermaritzburg but is a national issue.

“We urge the employees to please go back to the bargaining council because we believe the problem can be resolved if they go back to the council.

“We are trying to meet with the union so that we can negotiate because we want the colleges to resume lectures soon. If the colleges are closed, it becomes a big problem,” he said.


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