Provincial Members of the National Education Health & Allied Worker Union (Nehawu) today (Monday) descended on the headquarters of the Department of Social Development demanding among, others, the removal of MEC Joyce Mashamba. The group initially attempted to block Biccard Street in the vicinity of Olympic Towers but were dispersed by Police where after they then entered the premises with the intention of gaining entrance.
Members alleged that the department was collapsing under her stewardship and called for the appointment of someone young and energetic instead.
The protesters also demanded the review of entry levels for Social Service Professionals and Occupations, introduction of a rural allowance, provision of tools of trade, absorption of unemployed social workers on a permanent basis and improved conditions of service for all employees in the department of Social Development. They also want permanent employment of all contract employees based at the Gender Based Violence Command Centre.
They further claimed that to be tolerating a high level of arrogance demonstrated by the department.
A memorandum submitted by the members to the department stated that the truth of the matter was that Social Service professionals were the lowest paid professionals yet were expected to give hope and confidence to the development of citizenry and creating sustainable and active citizens for social development. Unfortunately, workers in this service are not compensated in a dignified manner and valued as critical contributors at the point of service.
“For instance, the current Occupation Specific Dispensation does not promote the principles of attracting and retaining professionals as a strategy to preserve this precious service in a sustainable manner for social development. As a matter of fact, in its current form, the Social Service professionals retire or die poor hence our demands for the review,” the memorandum read.
“Nehawu members and workers in general have lost patient against the intransigent employer, who expect quality service, while turning a blind eye on genuine issues confronting workers on daily basis. This long wait dates back to 2013, where Nehawu began to agitate for these issues to be addressed,” the memorandum continued.
Story: Herbert Rachuene