Nehawu to discuss support of 'better devil' Ramaphosa at policy conference
"Remember, we have said we are not giving the ANC a blank cheque, including Cyril. The point is: if he delivers, we compliment him; if he does not, we confront him."
These were the words of Zola Saphetha, the general secretary of Cosatu's biggest affiliate, the National Education, Health and Allied Workers' Union (Nehawu), during a press briefing in Braamfontein, Johannesburg, on Monday.
The union's briefing comes ahead of their policy conference, starting on Wednesday in Boksburg, Ekurhuleni.
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Nehawu said it "will adopt its posture regarding its practical relationship with the sixth administration as led by President Cyril Ramaphosa" at the conference.
Saphetha said this was an important discussion as Nehawu was the first to throw their weight behind Ramaphosa ahead of the tightly contested ANC conference at Nasrec in 2017, where he was elected leader of the governing party.
That support, said Saphetha, was based on Ramaphosa being "the better devil". Now that he was at the helm of a "confrontational" state owing to a majority mandate by the electorate, that support would be discussed.
"The reason we emphasise our posture is precisely because we are not going to be confused by the fact that he was our candidate. We are not going to be trapped in a political posture, hence the policy conference must discuss that posture," he said.
"Our choice on Cyril was not on the basis of faces; it was on the basis that he is the better devil to work with. So if he is not working with and giving us what we want, we are prepared to fight."
Among the burning issues the union will also discuss at the conference is "the changing environment in society and workplace".
The notion of a progressive developmental state is expected to anchor all discussions across four commissions:
- the first commission will focus on the ideological and political orientation of Nehawu;
- the second commission will analyse the politics of the day in the international and SA context;
- the third commission will discuss what ought to be a transformed public sector; and
- the fourth commission will seek to locate Nehawu's strategy and practical response to "our quest to change the world".
The Nehawu policy conference will take place at the Birchwood Hotel in Boksburg from Wednesday to Saturday.