The National Education, Health and Allied Workers Union (Nehawu) has joined the group of those calling for President Jacob Zuma to resign.
The Nehawu who had been Zuma’s strongest labour movement and supporter turned their back on him even as opposition parties win bid to intervene in the controversial state capture report in court On Tuesday.
Not only this, sources from the Congress of the South African Trade Union (Cosatu) also revealed that three other strong supporters of the president – the South African Democratic Teachers Union, the National Union of Mineworkers and police union Popcru are about to make conclusions to dumped him.
This loss of the voice of Nehawu in the president’s camp will further weaken him and on the other hand strengthen opposition bent on seeing him off the presidential seat.
Nehawu with about 289,000 members represents a large section of the state’s public service, hence, their decision to back off support for the president will force the ANC National Executive Council to take the matter of Zuma’s resignation with much seriousness.
Speaking on its decision to dump Zuma, Nehawu said the situation in the country had become untenable and it would want Zuma to hand over powers to his deputy Cyril Ramaphosa who they believe is fit to re-direct the course of the country for the good of all.
Nehawu’s move is set to anger the remaining Zuma supporters in the federation, largely limited to the South African Transport and Allied Workers Union (Satawu), the chemical industry union Ceppwawu and other relatively small unions.
The decision to dump President Zuma was held behind closed doors as the union reiterated how frustrated workers are with the Zuma-led administration
Nehawu is the first Cosatu union to go public with the call on Zuma to resign after a meeting of the union’s national executive committee at the weekend. A number of Cosatu affiliates had however, made it clear in meetings that Zuma must step down.
Some unions like Nehawu have expressed the view that Zuma should not conclude his term as party president as this would dent the ANC’s electoral prospects in the 2019 national election.
Like Nehawu, many unions are being pressured by their members to take a stance against the Zuma administration even as the political clashes continues to undermine the country’s economic growth.
unions are facing increasing pressure from their members to take a stance against the Zuma administration as economic growth remains sluggish and job losses continue.
The then-biggest affiliate of the federation, the National Union of Metalworkers of SA, was forced to quit Cosatu earlier this year because of the factional fights, which were mostly over Zuma’s leadership.
This is joined by a large number of the ANC bigwigs who had called for the resignation of the president and the national executive committee after the ANC’s eight percentage point loss in the 2016 local election.