The National Public Service Workers Union was established during apartheid, in 1962, as the Hospital Non-European Staff Association (HNESA) when there was no staff association for black public servants in KwaZulu-Natal province (KZN) and the nation at large. The union was started by a group of health workers in the public health sector as one of the first truly racially integrated unions. Its membership was initially limited to hospital workers employed by the province.
It then extended to include other workers employed provincially and nationally by other public sector departments. In 2003 it adopted the current name, National Public Service Workers Union (NPSWU), indicating the willingness to organize outside the province.
NPSWU is politically non-aligned and is affiliated to the National Council of Trade Unions (NACTU), and to PSI. NPSWU takes an active role in the PSI Quality Public Services-Action Now! (QPS) campaign. NPSWU participated in the recent establishment of a QPS working group, in alliance with the Ethekwini Municipality (Durban) and civil society.
According to Daya Jankisperad, chairperson of the group, "The QPS working group identified a number of key issues to assist the municipality in improving the quality of its services.??The first task was the promotion of a community centre to improve access to government and related services for approximately 100 000 people in the rural communities of uMnini, KwaZuluNatal, and surrounding areas. The union organized a campaign to raise awareness about the centre among citizens.