2 March 2017
The National Executive Committee (NEC) of the South African Democratic Teachers' Union (SADTU) met for the first time in 2017 at its National Office - Matthew Goniwe House in Kempton Park on February 24, 2017.
The meeting took place after the delivery of the State of the Nation Address by President Jacob Zuma, the National Budget by Minister Pravin Gordhan and the swearing in of former Eskom CEO Brian Molefe as Member of Parliament for the ANC.
The NEC deliberated on these as well as matters related to education, labour and the political climate.
It noted that 2017 would be intense and tumultuous for both for the Union and the Alliance. SADTU will, between March and July, hold provincial conferences and her National General Council in October. The ANC will hold its Policy Conference in June and National Congress in December. The SACP will have its 14th National Congress in June, while COSATU will convene her Central Committee in May 2007.
As SADTU is an affiliate of COSATU that is a member of the Tripartite Alliance, these gatherings are equally crucial to the Union.
In order to weather these, the NEC agreed that the Union should ensure that its organizational, political and ideological aspirations are translated to pragmatic programmes in 2017.
ON THE POLITICAL CLIMATE
The union is concerned with the conflicting messages being sent by the ANC in the recent past. Factions continue to communicate messages through press conferences with one structure of the organization speaking against the other on a particular issue.
SADTU calls on the ANC to improve the management of her communication in public and in the media in particular. It is our view that an organization such as the ANC should send a consistent message. Furthermore, it should be able to rally its structures behind one message. Anything contrary to that would be an indication that the centre is not holding.
The management and communication of the swearing in of former Eskom CEO Brian Molefe to Parliament is a point of reference. With so much confusion and discontent on the membership status of Molefe, the ANC in a shameless and arrogant manner went ahead and deployed him even though the SACP, SANCO and COSATU in the North West Province and some branches within the ANC indicated they were against the move.
The NEC believes that Molefe was appointed to settle political scores whilst he had not yet cleared his name following allegations against him from the State Capture report. He is compromised by this cloud - whether real or perceived.The Molefe saga is just a symptom of a deeper problem; we are calling on the ANC to respect its alliance partners and engage them on matters of deployments just like it involves them on local and national government elections matters.
On the ongoing succession debate, the threat of a surprise candidate running for the Presidency was also pointed out as another cause for divisions in the movement.
The NEC resolved that SADTU should assist the ANC to save itself from this self- inflicted demise by encouraging members to go to the ground and influence discussions in the branches of the ANC as members.
SADTU's position on the succession debate is informed by the Union's and COSATU resolutions that the ANC must follow its own tradition and established practices to have the Deputy President take over as President.
The NEC further resolved that the Union should broaden the discussions beyond the Presidency to also include the candidates for the entire Top 6 (National Working Committee) of the ANC.
Noting the divisions within the ANC, the NEC called on the President of the ANC to live up to OR Tambo's ideals and prioritize unity in the alliance and in the country. Lest we forget, this is the year that the ANC declared as the year for unity in the name of OR Tambo.
SADTU urges President Zuma, our president to spend the last few months as President of the ANC to openly condemn factions and preach unity at all times. The President must speak out against what is becoming institutionalized factionalism - some of the factions even have names such as the so-called "Premier League". Whether perceived or real, this trend must be condemned with the contempt it deserves. We believe that the President should lead from the front in this regard.
The NEC is inspired by what Comrade Tambo said in Durban after unbanning in 1991, "We have watched over your organization all these years. We now hand it back to you bigger, stronger and intact. Guard our precious movement". The NEC called on President Zuma and all of us to be inspired by this statement by our late President O.R. Tambo.
The NEC called on COSATU and SACP to close ranks and be bolder in defense of our revolution and the glorious movement of the people. It called for a militant COSATU that remains a spear for the workers.
The NEC raised concern of the emerging patterns of the judiciary being used to nullify the power of the ANC. The state was losing court cases and the Afro-Forum is working on establishing its own prosecutions unit.
ON EDUCATION MATTERS
The NEC noted that there were concerted efforts to privatize education through various means:
The NEC felt that e-marking which was presented by the Department of Basic Education at the Education Lekgotla convened by the Department in January was another attempt towards the privatization of education. It noted that e-marking would defeat the purpose of marking as teachers won't be part of interactions within memo discussions. E-marking would not assist the development of the learner, as it won't take into account the learner's context when answering questions.
This was another attempt to push forward the agenda for privatization of education at the expense of learner development and de-professionalization of teaching. If the Department were to go ahead with e-marking, it would be sending a message to teachers that they cannot be trusted with the scripts.
We will continue to lobby our members, parents and civil society to oppose any means of privatization and de-professionalization of teaching. Machines can't replace teachers.
The NEC noted media reports attacking the leadership of the South African Council for Educators (SACE), more particularly the chairperson who is also the Vice President of SADTU. The NEC expressed its full support for the Vice President. It also noted that the attack on SACE and SADTU was meant to discredit SACE and serve the interests of those who want to privatize education.
The deliberate attempt to drag the name of SADTU in the affairs of an independent institution concerns the NEC, but we understand that this attack is led by our class enemy the DA. The DA will never rest until they see the demise of this potent weapon of the teachers in our country, the South African Democratic Teachers' Union. We will not fold our arms and cry but return the favour by redoubling our efforts to tell our people that the DA hates us because our membership is predominantly black and we are opposed to the Neo-Liberal policy of privatizing education and protecting the privileges of the minority in our country.
We will work with other unions in the sector to protect the integrity of SACE as a body of professionals. SADTU does not condone corrupt behavior in any institution including SACE. We urge this professional body to investigate any allegations of breach of its professional ethics. Any employee of SACE who has labour issues with their employer should stop labeling senior management as SADTU. Any person employed as SACE was employed as a citizen of this country in terms of relevant employment legislation and not as SADTU leader or member. We will not tolerate this deliberate labeling of employees to suit the DA agenda. SACE must deal with each and every allegation without fear or favour.
The NEC congratulated quality assurer Umalusi for the sterling work done in Matric results despite the noise from the DA through their dishonest so-called Shadow Minister Gavin Davis. When the DA-led Western Cape Province was the best performer in Matric results, the DA never complained about Umalusi. Now that the Western Cape is not the top performer, the DA is questioning Umalusi's capabilities. The standardization of results is a common practice that takes place right through the world. The NEC expressed is full confidence in Umalusi expertise capabilities as quality assurer.
Second chance programme for matrics:
The NEC noted that the programme is failed by a number of issues. The number of centres given is not enough and the presumption that learners would be able to cope with online studies was incorrect. In rural provinces with high enrolment, the programme will not assist given the fact that the budget is decreasing every year.
The incubation programmes in provinces:
The NEC expressed concern that these incubation programmes would dry out the coffers of provinces and put them under financial stress in the near future. They felt that the programme was more than a money making scheme for the officials.
ON LABOUR MATTERS:
The NEC adopted a roadmap to guide the Union towards the 2017/2018 Public Service Wage Negotiations. The three-year multi-term agreement signed in 2015 is coming to an end in 2017. The Union shall prioritize the review of the Government Employees Medical Scheme (GEMS). As it stands, GEMS is no more what we wanted.
The NEC also took a decision to put more pressure on Government to finalize the Government Employees Housing Scheme (GEHS) in order to restore the dignity of teachers by allowing them to afford houses.
SADTU shall continue to engage to resolve the 0, 5% pay parity in the public service. Our campaign for the review of the Post Provisioning Norms (PPN), as per the ANC Mangaung Conference, will continue. The issue of incentives and the rural allowance in particular, will continue to be raised.
The NEC further called for the permanent appointment of all temporary teachers in vacancy funded posts. Prompt payment of temporary educators must be complied with by all education departments without fail.
The NEC also agreed that the Union and the Employer need to finalise discussions on improving conditions of service of our members in the EAT, ECD and TVET sectors.
ON UPCOMING EVENTS
International Women's Day:
As 2017 is the Centenary year of International Women's Day (8 March), The NEC resolved that a series of workshops and political classes be held in the run up to the day in various structures and maximum participation be encouraged to celebrate the day.
The NEC agreed that work towards organizing a successful Workers' Day (1 May) should begin forthwith. The National event will be held in the Free State Province, Bloemfontein. The day is crucial for worker unity not only in South Africa but internationally.
ISSUED BY: SADTU Secretariat
General Secretary, Mugwena Maluleke: 082 783 2968
Deputy General Secretary, Nkosana Dolopi: 082 709 5651
Media Officer, Nomusa Cembi: 082 719 5157