The death of Khaya Xaba has been described as a huge blow not only for the National Education, Health and Allied Workers’ Union (Nehawu), but for the workers’ struggle.
The death of Khaya Xaba has been described as a huge blow not only for the National Education, Health and Allied Workers’ Union (Nehawu), but for the workers’ struggle.

Tributes pour in for Nehawu’s Khaya Xaba

By Okuhle Hlati Time of article published Jun 14, 2021

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THE death of Khaya Xaba has been described as a huge blow not only for the National Education, Health and Allied Workers’ Union (Nehawu), but for the workers’ struggle.

Messages of condolences started flooding in on Sunday following the death of the Nehawu national spokesperson in the early hours of the morning after a short battle with Covid-19 related illness.

Xaba made it public earlier this month that he contracted the virus and had been in hospital since.

Nehawu's Secretary-General Zola Saphetha conveyed condolences to his family, friends and colleagues stating it was a dark hour for them.

“His passing is not only a loss to the national union but workers in general, especially at this critical moment when workers are confronted with the third wave of Covid-19. When members and workers were losing their lives due to the pandemic, it was Xaba through the union that was in the forefront in communicating and exposing the deteriorating conditions workers had to endure.”

Xaba joined the union in 2016 as a media liaison officer, coming from the Young Communist League of South Africa (YCLSA) before being promoted to national spokesperson.

Police and Prisons Civil Rights Union spokesperson, Richard Mamabolo said Xaba’s death was devastating, describing him as a committed revolutionary.

“I personally knew him back in the YCLSA days when we worked together in 2009, when he was a media liaison officer. He was a humble and loving guy. Everyone liked his attitude as he was a hard worker and never embroiled in any wrongdoing. He will surely be missed.”

The Democratic Nursing Organisation of South Africa (Denosa) spokesperson, Sibongiseni Delihlazo said Xaba championed for the cause for speedy vaccination programmes for both healthcare workers and citizens.

“The respect for collective agreements especially in the public service, better pays for workers and filling of vacant positions among many others. The struggle for fair treatment of workers on the shop floor has now become heavier due to the nature of government that many workers are working for, which has become the new oppressor that is hellbent on reversing the gains of workers.”

Africa4Palestine director Muhammed Desai said Xaba was an internationalist, a champion of the oppressed and an ally of the Palestinians.

Desai said they have lost a friend and #Africa4Palestine board member.

The Public Service Coordinating Bargaining Council said his contributions towards advancing worker rights will be sorely missed.

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