DECLARATION OF THE 6th TRIENNIAL PROVINCIAL CONFERENCE OF THE WESTERN CAPE PROVINCE
SOUTH AFRICAN DEMOCRATIC TEACHERS UNION
Held in Langebaan, 29 June- 02 July 2014
The SADTU Western Cape 6th Triennial Provincial Conference which brings together the Provincial Office Bearers, Regional Office Bearers and 1 branch delegate for every 200 paid up members convened from the 29th of June-2nd of July 2014, Langebaan, West Coast, representing 14 333 educators and education workers. The Province met to undertake the critical tasks of reviewing the programmes of the Union, its policy positions, progress made on its 2030 Vision and broader issues within and outside the Basic Education sector.
We, the delegates to this conference are alive to the fact that our Union has a pivotal and leading role to play in the transformation of education. Education has long been identified as the main tool in the fight to realize total emancipation of the masses. Our icon the late Cde Nelson Mandela who addressed our very first national congress in 1990 famously said about education “It is the most powerful weapon which you can use to change the world”.
We dip our revolutionary flags in the name of the late Cde Mandela and other fallen comrades from within and outside our ranks and we recommit ourselves to carrying on the struggle for quality public education and access for all.
The conference acknowledges that we have a role to play in terms of advancing the National Democratic Revolution; it is against this backdrop that we must strive to exhibit the characteristics of the ideal revolutionary teacher.
We are alive to the reality that the Union is confronted by some organisational challenges at various levels that have undermined our unity as an organisation. We the delegates to this 6th triennial provincial conference re-commit ourselves to the preservation of unity and the supremacy of our constitution. We accept that internal organisational processes as guided by the constitution must at all times be observed and that no individual is above the Union.
Conference is satisfied that the leadership collectives at provincial and national levels have been doing what is required of them in terms of ensuring that all members including those that hold or held leadership positions subject themselves to the Union’s constitution and internal processes. We thus want to affirm the NEC decision on the former first member of the Union who has since been expelled.
We re-affirm and support the current leadership of the Union at national level; we believe that this leadership collective has assisted the organisation to weather the storm against an unprecedented internal revolt led by those who believe that the Union belongs to them and exists to serve their personal interests.
We reject with the contempt it deserves the tendency by some to resort to the courts of law in an attempt to achieve certain narrow objectives. Conference is of the firm view that the Union must not allow itself to be reduced to running its affairs through the courts. Our understanding is that the organisation has elected leadership structures at various levels and that those have the responsibility to ensure that our code of conduct is abided by and that its constitution remains the most supreme guiding document.
We welcome the results of the May 7 general elections in which the ANC received a mandate to govern the country once again. Equally, we note that the Western Cape Province, due to a number of factors, remains the only province not governed by the ANC despite its improved showing at the polls in the province percentage wise.
Conference believes that the African National Congress is the only organisation that offers our people a realistic hope of a better life due to its pro-poor policy posture. We will thus continue to work with the ANC to ensure that the commitments as made in the manifesto are realized and we move South Africa forward. We are reaffirming the 2010 Congress Resolution on Local government elections and the 2013 NGC resolution on General Elections 2014 and will not only vote for but will also work hard towards a decisive ANC victory in the 2016 Local Government Elections.
In light of the challenges that confront us both within and outside the organization and in line with our 2030 Vision, which we are firmly re-affirming, we further resolve as follows:
PILLAR NUMBER 1
We reaffirm the Union’s 2030 Vision and want to see improved efficiency in terms of its implementation at all levels of the organisation. Members are the nucleus of the organisation and member service must be a priority at all times in theory and most importantly in practice.
We note in particular the recruitment, retainment and organising strategies that are in existence and captured in the vision, we believe that more effort must be put towards the servicing of all members in all sites and branches.
Our view is that this critical pillar of our vision must never be compromised by internal disciplinary processes unfolding against certain leaders. The Union through the relevant leadership structures must therefore ensure that all disciplinary processes against the said leaders are rapidly completed so that members are not in any way compromised any further.
Conference further acknowledges that the gender struggle is in itself a struggle within a struggle and that it must remain central to our agenda. We must all strive for gender equity and equality at all levels of our existence. We thus want to register our support for the anti-harassment policy and urge all our structures to reflect on it and identify ways in which it could be strengthened.
We are alive to the fact that the HIV/AIDS pandemic remains society’s everyday reality and that the education sector is not immune to its negative effects. As a union we want to continue to play a leading role in the fight against this pandemic and thus resolve that measures must be put in place to sustain the work that had been carried out by our PPCT OVC Project.
We note that a significant portion of the membership remains suffocated in debt due the persistent unfavorable economic climate, some of these members find the temptation to “cash out” a portion of their pensions in mitigation of this reality irresistible.
We believe that innovative measures must be put in place to assist members in dealing with situations of financial distress. However, we want to strongly discourage members from being tempted to access their pensions before retirement. It is in appreciation of this fact that we want to reaffirm the NGC Resolution that we embark on an aggressive financial education programme.
The financial well being of our members is of our concern and it is in this spirit that we want to encourage home ownership and for the discussions around the GEHS at a collective bargaining level to be completed speedily so that the implementation phase can commence soonest.
Conference believes that quality health care just like education is not a privilege but a right. We support the ANC government’s push to implement the National Health Insurance. In the interim however, we must ensure that we have adequate representation on behalf of the members on the relevant platforms where decisions are made in relation to their medical aid benefits.
We note the current position and ELRC resolution on lodging grievances on disputes of interests, believing that efficient mechanisms must be put in place to ensure sufficient member representation in this regard, conference submits that we must train a cohort of comrades in case handling and that corruption by DBE officials when it comes to promotional posts and appointments must be fought at all costs.
PILLAR NUMBER 2
It is our view that education is a basic human right and not a privilege and that everything must be done to ensure universal access. We note the inequalities that remain entrenched within the education system and are of the view that measures must be put in place to speed up redress and thus mitigate the negative effects thereof.
Conference thus agrees that some of these measures include the allocation of specialist educators from Gr R to 12 for areas such as Life Orientation and the Creative Arts. By implication, we are saying that teaching posts in these specialist areas must be added to staff establishments in terms of PPM.
We are further resolving that all schools in particularly working class and poorer communities must have permanent designated posts for ELSEN, Social Workers and Psychologists and must be included in staff establishments.
We note that the teaching of African languages in schools has been elevated by the government; we welcome this move as it speaks directly to our identity as an African people. We believe however that measures must be put in place to ensure that teachers are in no way compromised at an implementation level.
We are adamant that teachers must under no circumstances be served the raw end of the deal when policy, no matter how noble it may be, is implemented. It is in this spirit that we want to reaffirm the NGC resolution that the current document on QMS should be strengthened and any element of subjectivity be removed so that the instrument can be more acceptable and credible.
PILLAR NUMBER 3
We note the ambitions by some within the federation to essentially transform their Unions to political parties. We reject the notion that trade unions can play the dual role of representing the workers whilst simultaneously seeking to contest political space. It is our view that this is demagoguery & populism of the worst order without any sound ideological bearing masquerading as militancy and radicalism.
We believe that those that want to launch political parties that will antagonize the ANC and essentially nullify the strategic tripartite alliance must be relieved from the federation, better fewer but better!!
Conference understands that The Tripartite Alliance remains even more relevant than ever before in defending and advancing this phase of the National Democratic Revolution. We thus want to reaffirm both the Congress 2010 resolution on “Strengthening and defending the Alliance” and the NGC 2013 resolution on “Unity of the Alliance and Unity of the Federation”.
PILLAR NUMBER 5
We are re-affirming the Union’s 2030 Vision in terms of organizational excellence, the conference believes that the membership must be engaged in depth on the options before us in terms of financial resources to sustain operations. We accept that there are economic constraints outside our control that if not mitigated, these are likely to compromise our ability as an organisation to service our members.
Noting the internal challenges that have confronted us recently and undermined our unity resulting in a “free for all” scenario with divisive elements taking to social media platforms to air their views, we believe that the Union’s code of conduct must be observed at all times and that the established organisational media policy must be re-affirmed.
We the delegates to this 6th triennial provincial conference believe that the unity of the organisation is central to our very existence. We believe that we all have the responsibility to ensure that unity finds expression in our daily operations. Those that want to use the union for their narrow objectives must be exposed and isolated lest history judges us very harshly.
Organisational discipline, the supremacy of our constitution and democratic centralism are some of the key principles that must guide us on a daily basis. We owe it to this mighty 24 yr old, 260 000 strong Union to ensure that these pivotal principles remain intact and observed by all.
Elected Provincial Working Committee:
SADTU Lives!!! SADTU Leads!!!!