The NEC of SADTU meets for the first time after the signing of the Public Services wage deal

25 May 2015

The National Executive Committee of the South African Democratic Teachers` Union (SADTU) met from the 22nd until the 23rd of May 2015 to deal with matters affecting the union, education and the country in general. Critical on the agenda was the performance of the department of education on the collective bargaining front.

THE PASSING ON OF DR RUTH MOMPATI

The NEC paid tribute to the late ANC stalwart Dr Ruth Mompati. She was an inspiration not only to those in the movement but to South Africans broadly and women in particular. As she was a teacher, members should emulate her and continue to advance gender struggles in her name.

SALARY NEGOTIATIONS IN PUBLIC SERVICE

The eight months long salary negotiations came to an end when the majority of public sector unions signed a three year agreement with the employer. We signed after a long mandate seeking process which culminated with the NEC receiving reports from all our provinces, structures and members allowing the National Office Bearers to sign the agreement on their behalf.

Members were kept abreast of developments at the negotiations at each interval of the process. This was done through mass meetings addressed by leaders from branch to national level. Further, each SADTU member received updates through SMS.

We are therefore appalled to hear from a fraudster and disgruntled former president of SADTU, who was dismissed from the Union for abusing his position to amass material benefits for himself that we sold out. He was given four opportunities to clear his name of ten serious allegations of corruption and never turned up even on one occasion. He even missed the last opportunity afforded to him to appeal at the National Congress. It is Ntola who sold the members out. Instead of representing and improving the conditions of workers, he solicited bribes by blackmailing service providers to getting a house of R3,5 million.

His political gimmicks are exposing his lack of organizational culture because he was parachuted to lead as deputy president even before serving at the national executive committee level. It was a disaster, to say the least, to elect a populist who thrived out of divisions. Their so-called Sapsu is going to collapse even before it starts. By the way, he found this Sapsu already formed by a certain Mr Mbhele and he immediately appointed himself as the president. Let Sapsu know that he is a disaster if that union does exist at all. If does exist as a union, the service providers or funders will be running it because there are no laws to govern this cheque collector. Where are the offices of Sapsu and who is paying for such offices?

Why is the media not raising a finger on a teacher who has been absent from school since June 2014 to date? The media won`t see his conduct as corrupt because anyone who accuses the ANC of selling out the people, even if he is corrupt, they will protect and promote at all costs including giving such a person airtime.

Under normal circumstances, Ntola should hang his head in shame for all the wrong he did to the Union. He betrayed the faith given to him by members.

Our members are not fools. They won`t be confused by wolves wearing sheep skins. Our members know that salary negotiations are a give and take process. This year we got a 2,5% above inflation, whereas we got 0,7% above inflation in 2012 when he was president of our Union.

We see Ntola as a communist by day who counts his profits at night. Which teacher in South Africa can stay in a R3,5million house?

ON PAY PROGRESSION

The NEC expressed outrage at the disrespect displayed by the employer to all teachers in the country. The Department remains intransigent in offering teachers the 0,5% parity to do away with the discrepancy that exist in the public service in terms of pay progression. All public servants receive 1,5% pay progression except for teachers who are given 1%. The long term effect is that the progress of teachers is much slower than other public servants. This matter remains unresolved after a long period of negotiations, with a certificate of non-resolve issued after a failed conciliation process. We are going to seek mandate from members on the course of action to take to end this unfairness. Thereafter, a special NEC will be convened to adopt a programme of action.

POSTS FOR CASH SCAM REPORTS

SADTU has since the beginning of the media reports on the sale of jobs for teachers last year, condemned this act in strongest terms and made it clear that the Union never sanctioned such. The union explained its position in many platforms and even urged members and the public to come forward with evidence and provide it to the Volmink Commission that was set up to deal with the matter. The union further approached the South African Council for Educators (SACE) and the Education Labour Relations Council (ELRC) and asked them to also investigate the reports.

The union is not an employer of teachers nor a supermarket for posts and therefore is not in a position to sell what it does not own.

The NEC reiterated the Union's stance in condemning this act. It however, criticized the manner in which the media was portraying the saga as it continues to profile these acts as a deliberate SADTU agenda. "We are prepared to take the fight to those journalists and editors that see SADTU as just another step in the ladder for career upward mobility," the NEC resolved.

SADTU will also not allow those who are benefiting from this barbaric and counterrevolutionary practice to damage the image and reputation of the Union. The Union will root out all those union members who will be fingered by the Volmink Enquiry. The Union wants to make it clear to anyone who is practicing the act that it will work hard to instill discipline within its ranks.

THE DAILY DISPATCH NEWSPAPER

The NEC came down hard on an Eastern Cape publication The Daily Dispatch, for its biased reporting on SADTU matters in the province. It is always giving a platform to former provincial leaders of the Union and not getting the other side of the story in order to create a balance.

"It is clear that this publication has chosen to play an active role in our organization and to the benefit of their handlers who will be exposed at some point. It is not that surprising that the ANC in the provinces released a strong worded statement recently condemning the anti-majoritarian position of the publication," the NEC said.

THE BASIC EDUCATION BUDGET VOTE

The NEC welcomed the 2016/16 Basic Education budget vote and the continued increase of the budget at a time when other countries are cutting education budgets due to austerity measures.

The NEC welcomed the Minister's announcement on the expansion of a programme to introduce African languages in the 3 558 schools across all provinces that don't currently offer African languages. This is in line with the Union's call for the prioritization of African indigenous languages in our schools. However, the Union was disappointed with the pronouncement on the introduction of Mandarin as a subject with clear timeframes and specified grades when we are slow in the development of our own languages. The reason for introducing Mandarin in our schools totally contradicts what the Chinese did to develop China. The Chinese embarked on a cultural revolution with an emphasis on the Chinese language to anchor the education system.

The cultural revolution of China was based on the Chinese language as a driver for unity and social cohesion. The Chinese have managed to do away with Western domination because they understood that culture is important in the development of the nation. The Nama language is going extinct and we have not heard of similar commitments to safeguard the language and develop it. The Department did not consult the stakeholders on the introduction of Mandarin and the Union views this as a form of colonization by China in exchange for the electronic gadgets for schools.

We intend to meet the Council of Traditional Leaders and PANSLAB to discuss this issue with the hope of getting some guidance on how to respond to this situation. The Union will also convene seminars where our people will express their views. This will be done to help our people not to allow another foreign domination in our country irrespective of whether such a country is investing in our country. Our culture and souls as a nation are not for sale. No international trade must undermine our culture. China, as a socialist country, should be the first to protect our culture and help our department of education to understand that our language is our heritage and cannot form part of WTO or any international trade agreements.

The NEC welcomed the Minister's announcement about the teaching of History in our schools as this has been Union's persistent call that the subject should be compulsory in our schools as we believe it is one way in which we can produce patriotic South Africans. Knowledge of the past will assist us in our development trajectory. It will assist in nation building, maintain peace and stability.

THE WRITING OF EXAMINATIONS ON SATURDAYS AND HOLIDAYS

The NEC criticized the decision of the Department of Basic Education to make schools to write examinations on Saturdays and holidays. The NEC took a decision to inform members to refuse to supervise examinations on Saturdays and holidays. This unilateral policy is a recipe for disaster. This is what no teacher must accept because it is educationally unsound and can only be introduced by a person who lacks understanding of education. No changes to conditions of service should be implemented without negotiations. No teacher must administer tests or invigilate exams on weekend or holidays.

LEARNER ASSESSMENT

The NEC expressed concern that the education system is placing more emphasis on testing rather than improving the quality of teaching and learning. Policy design hampered the instention the same policy have at heart. For an example: last lay year, the change in the promotion and progression requirement, caused confusion in many schools a a very late stage, when the examination had already begun resulting in mass failure of the learners.

The Department changes school based assessments and, in most cases, this was intended to suit the purpose of the examinations section and not to improve the quality of teaching and learning. The NEC took a decision that it would recommend to the department to allocate a budget to improve and assist teachers with school based assessment procedures; strengthen the management of teaching in schools, relook at the negative impact of over emphasis on testing of learners and assess the real pedagogical and emotional readiness of learners as they progress through the grades.

TEACHER ASSESSMENT

The NEC criticized the way competency tests are used in some provinces to eliminate teachers from participating in the marking processes. We are surprised that the competency of teachers is not questioned when they have to do all types of assessment of learners throughout the year and when payments for work done are applicable, only certain teacher are eligible.

The NEC emphasized the fact that the Quality Measurement Systems was the only tool that was agreed upon in the Education Labour Relations Council (ELRC) to compile any teacher needs assessment. While the Union welcomes the development and acknowledge the need to develop competencies, it is our view that teacher assessment in any form of competency test, is a weak instrument to bring about improvement in teaching practice. The NEC therefore took a decision that it will recommend to the Department of Basic Education that the Examination Directorate to be absorbed under Teacher Development and Curriculum Management and deal with these issues collectively. We are saying no any other tool to assess the competency of teachers other than the QMS test as there is no evidence to prove that these tests lead to improving the performance of teachers.

THE ANNUAL NATIONAL ASSESSMENT (ANA)

The NEC took a decision that it will hold a special NEC meeting to deliberated on how to take forward its Congress and National General Council resolutions on ANA as the Department was not taking into account the Union's resolutions.

The Union resolved that ANA should remain a diagnostic tool for the whole system, with clear time frames that would allow for prompt feedback to be given all sectors in education. Its intention is to assess the system and NOT only teachers. It is irrational to test learners every year with no clear time frames to fit in interventions. ANA should not be abused to label and single out teachers and schools thereby demoralizing and de-professionalising them. It should be reviewed as a three year diagnostic tool for the entire system.

ON THE CONTINUED POSTURE BY DBE TO PRONOUNCE ON POLICIES BEFORE CONSULTATION

The NEC resolved to convene the Union's campaigns committee to develop an appropriate response to this posture that is aimed at destroying the relationship between the Unions and the Department in the service to the people of our country. This will be followed by the Special NEC which will adopt a programme of action that will once and for all put an end to this undemocratic culture. The programme of action will also deal with the deliberate delay of creating parity in terms of the pay progression in the public service.

COSATU SPECIAL CONGRESS

The NEC stated that the Union was firmly behind the COSATU Special Congress and dismissed reports that the decision to convene the Special Congress came as a result of pressure from a court judgment. The Central Executive Committee (CEC) of COSATU had long taken the decision to convene a special congress and dates thereof prior to the court judgement.

ISSUED BY: SADTU Secretariat