SADTU KwaZulu Natal PEC statement

14 September 2015

Introduction

The South African Democratic Teachers Union in the Province of KwaZulu Natal held its Provincial Executive Committee meeting from the 11th - 13th of September 2015. This was the third PEC meeting of the year which had a responsibility of looking at a number of things including the onslaught by the employer, killing of workers in education, instability in schools, readiness for the end of the year examinations, local government elections and the importance of unity and cohesion in the union. 

This PEC met immediately after our democratic movements had held various critical meetings that shall certainly map the way forward for our country being the Special National Congress of the SACP, which extensively debated the position on the NDR and challenges facing the working class and the poor,  the most successful Special National Congress of COSATU where workers claimed their federation with distinction,  ANC Women’s league which held a successful elective conference which had been postponed several times and finally the ANCYL which has a task of engaging on the neglected youth issues.  We do hope that they will join the YCLSA which has demonstrated relevance and maturity in dealing with and advancing the struggles of the youth thereby impacting on the continent around such critical matters.

On instability in our schools

The PEC noted the high level of instability in our schools which manifests itself through the closing of schools with teachers leaving their workplaces to report in circuit offices and district offices. The PEC agreed that there are many reasons for this action by teachers which include the poor working relations between the schools and the communities as well as amongst workers themselves. The meeting further acknowledged that when this happens teaching and learning get compromised as learners are left without teachers for weeks.

The PEC also agreed that other ways of solving the problems in schools must be established and the DOE must prioritize the capacitation of SGBs to be able to understand their role in schools. When doing this the DOE must also ensure that these schools are identified and a dedicated programme be developed to improve poor working relations between workers in the school. The PEC believes that in the lack of transparency and democratic management the school is likely to be affected by instability. To this end the union vowed to stand by its members as there is no way that the union can allow a situation where its members are harassed and targeted but reminded the members that the best way of dealing with workplace challenges is to deal with them at the workplace rather than moving out and leaving learners alone.

Withdrawing labour should be the last resort and must be sanctioned by the General Secretary. 
We call on the department to move with speed in intervening in affected schools and it is equally important that some of these challenges that lead to instability is as a result of the department failing to deliver on the promises they make to the communities and the schools.  To name a few the following school still has unresolved challenges:

  • Makhemfundo in Dundee
  • Mamfene in Jozini
  • Qantayi at Port Dunfort
  • Siyabonga in Newcastle at Osizweni
  • Mbonisweni in Tongaat
  • Chief Albert Luthuli in Stanger
  • Ezingolweni Primary in Port Shepstone
  • Isizinda Secondary in Pinetown

On the killing of education workers

The issue of the killing of teachers and other workers was also discussed seriously. The PEC noted that it is only in KZN where these killings mostly happen. This does not give a good picture about the Province. The meeting analyzed this and said when looking at the killing of teachers the union and the public must not look it separately from the violence in the societies which ends up transported to schools. The union noted with dismay the utterances alleged to have been made in a funeral of the Principal of Villa Maria which left those who were in attendance making conclusions that a certain union was involved in the killing. This Principal was also a member of SADTU and we are still shocked by her brutal killing. We applaud the police for the timeous arrest and we hope that they will go to the root cause of the killing and find the exact murderer. SADTU does not support any act of criminality.

This brutal killing of our members has historical development from the early nineties and has been perpetuated endlessly to this day. Last year a member of Sadtu Principal of … School in Nkandla was found dead in his car, The member OF SADTU a Deputy Principal of …. In Nquthu was gunned down in his classroom together with a learner, a member of SADTU who was to assume as a Principal at Mjabuliseni School at Esikhawini was found dead in his car in January this year with the appointment letter in his pocket, a leader of SADTU Xolani Zuma who was an HOD at Songozima School was gunned down in July this year, the Security Officers of Clydesdale JS and KwaMakhutha High who were both members of SADTU were gunned down at work early this year. Last month a Principal at Ulundi was also killed.

Having raised these murder cases it will be very misleading and dangerous if at glance a conclusion is made that the reason for killings is because teachers are fighting over promotion posts as it has been propagated.

On promotions

SADTU is committed in protecting collective bargaining including the protection of agreed policies and Collective Agreements. We note the progress made in the filling of vacancies including promotion post which were advertised in HRM 24/2014. The union will continue to raise issues where the employer violates the guiding procedure on appointments. This will be done without any fear.

HRM 38/2015 advertising school based posts is now out after a long fight by the union. We call upon the department to workshop School Governing bodies so that they are well capacitated to handle the processes. The call by the Public Protector for the recruitment of teachers to be done by independent panels fails to appreciate the contribution that these members of the public have made. 

The Freedom Charter calls for People to govern and the establishment of school government bodies was one way of realizing that call as a concrete expression of the will of the people currently embedded in the Constitution of the Republic which the Public Protector is expected to protect and defend at all cost. The SGBs are well placed to deal with recruitment provided capacity is provided as the law states. Essentially the Public Protector must call for the implementation of the law and policy prescripts dealing with school governing body skills enhancement.

The onslaught by the employer

The onslaught to SADTU by the employer was also seriously noted by the PEC which took time to analyze and characterize the situation. The conclusion made by the PEC is that there is a clear move of undermining the working class and workers in particular which manifest itself through the undermining of the platforms of engagements like the bargaining councils by the employer. This manifest itself through the pronouncements through media and rushing to gazette policy matters that needed to be consulted with the stakeholders including union.This is happening throughout the world ensuring that workers have no voice on issues of education.

Unfortunately SADTU is not prepared to succumb to the agenda of capital which obviously influence all decisions of the department. SADTU will continue to fight for that which is rightly hers. For quite some time the Union has been calling for the Department to review ANA but the employer continued to ignore us as it has become its  norm. The Union was left with no other option but to withdraw labour power in the administration of ANA and when we made that pronouncement the arrogant officials thought that we were playing. Others started to intimidate teachers through applying divide and rule like in ,School in Howick where teachers were made to write letters saying they were not to administer ANA. That was mischievous as the decision was not a decision of the individual but a decision of the collective.

The PEC appreciated the leadership provided by the Union Leadership led by the President Cde Maphila and the General Secretary Cde Maluleke. As we speak today there is no writing of ANA this year and we are looking forward to the work of the task team established to review ANA. The PEC also noted the move to steal the victory of SADTU through the messages that were circulating even before the formal pronouncement was made. The public cannot be fooled because the public knows that this was a campaign of SADTU and it will remain a victory of SADTU that our teachers and learners will not be subjected to writing ANA this year. 

On Mandarin

The PEC also deliberated on the issue of the introduction of Mandarin in schools and reiterated the sentiments of the NEC that this must not be allowed to happen. We are going to mobilize COSAS and convince SGBs to work together with us so that we campaign against this together. The PEC noted the Resolutions of Polokwane and Mangaung around the teaching of Indigenous languages which remain partially implemented and called for the Minister to focus on those resolutions instead of rushing to Mandarin.

The PEC further noted the article on Page 9 of the Mail and Guardian of the 11th where a pronouncement was made which is exactly what the UNION suspected that there will be importation of teachers from China who be descending to  the country to teach mandarin. The public must not forget that the country has thousands of qualified teachers who remain unemployed. KZN alone has more than 2000 qualified teachers who have studied through Fundza Lushaka and others were paying for themselves who are jobless yet the Department has the guts to open a market for Chinese teachers.

The teaching of Indigenous language would absorb some of these unemployed teachers. To this end the PEC adopted a programme of holding seminars throughout the province to talk about the privatization and commercialization of/in education and also explain why the Union says No to Mandarin. This move was informed by the fact that there is a need to go back to the basics and the basics mean that SADTU must be a Union that run Campaigns.

The meeting also noted that there is a well calculated onslaught by the department of education in the province which manifest itself through wanton charging of Sadtu leaders and members without following due processes.  It is represented through sheer disregard of existing policies and is reflected through selective lifting of suspensions without due processes which in the main should have been preceded by investigation. 

This is worsened by blanket suspensions of leaders of the union who in the main have challenged some officials on a number of glaring malpractices in the department.  SADTU is of the view that such tendencies feed into the wild spread agenda to weaken or destroy the department from within.  PEC then arrived at a scientific conclusion that such officials must leave politics for politicians since all these backward decisions they implement are always taken in secret meetings attended by individuals outside the employ of the department.

On Gender struggles

The meeting noted that it was held a month after the Women’s Month and that it is nearing the 16 Days of Activism. The union further noted that the meeting was held after the passing on of Comrade Judy Malqueeny who was the Central Committee member of the Party and a teacher by profession. The Meeting acknowledged the commitment Cde Judy had on Gender Struggles. This was discussed acknowledging that the country is still trapped in major inequalities and that women are still under the bandage of patriarchy. To this end the PEC resolved to hold a Political Class on Gender Struggles and that this must be done regularly also to honour Comrade Judy who had always been with SADTU when the union needed her for political guidance on many issues.

On unity and cohesion

The PEC aligned itself with the theme of the Cosatu Special Congress and the resolutions of the 8th National Congress of SADTU of ensuring that all members must work to maintain unity and cohesion in our unions and COSATU. The PEC committed itself to this resolve and further looked closely on the unity of SADTU in the Province. The analysis by PEC was that there are few individuals who seem to be determined in dividing the Union and agreed that unity of members will be achieved through implementing programmes of the organization. The PEC further congratulated the leadership of Durban South for the work that they are doing in bringing stability in the region. The Leadership of the Region was given an instruction to ensure unity in all branches of SADTU.

The PEC also discussed the role of former leaders in the challenges that the Union is facing. The meeting thanked all those who once led in the Province of KwaZulu Natal for their role in growing the organization. Having said that the PEC was convinced that other former leaders were still operating but now not assisting the union to grow as it would be expected but they are dividing the union. The PEC wanted to inform the public that Comrade Mbuyiseni Mathonsi is no longer a leader of SADTU neither a Member. The scope of SADTU ends with the Department of Education and by virtue of resigning as a teacher and getting employed in the Office of the Premier he automatically resigned himself from the union. The PEC pleads with him to move far away from the issues of the organization and accept the reality of his new location of employment.

On Local Government Elections

The PEC noted that the local government elections are just around the corner. The meeting was reminded of its role as an affiliate of COSATU which is in alliance with the ANC in ensuring that ANC wins all wards in the upcoming elections. The PEC looked at the role the Union played years back including the 2004 elections where the union had to deploy its members even to the areas which were regarded as the no go areas for the ANC.

During this discussion the PEC was reminded about how members of SADTU were attacked and harassed leading to some losing their lives and others having to be displaced from their schools for their involvement in elections. The meeting after long deliberations resolved that for 2016 elections SADTU must run an election programme that would ensure that  ANC remains victorious and in power in all municipalities.

Having resolved as such the PEC is disturbed by the political situation in the province. The PEC is disturbed by the divisions and instabilities in the regions of the ANC and believed that it cannot be the ANC that is so entrenched in factions and divisions as the leader of not only members of the ANC but  the undisputable leader of the society. SADTU is raising these concerns because her belief is that it is only the ANC led Alliance that has the capacity to look after and implement the National Democratic Revolution which is the transformation agenda of South Africa.

Our take is that the chances of the realization of the NDR become faint if these divisions are not attended to. It is the belief of the PEC that it is under the administration of the ANC that the lives of the people of South Africa can be changed because the ANC has a track record of good service delivery. After thorough analysis of things the PEC is convinced that there are few individuals who are colluding with capital for the maximization of their profit. Unfortunately when this is done the Alliance including the ANC gets compromised.

We think that there are people who are committed and who believe that it is time to loot and the way they are dangerous is that they don’t care who is behind their programme as much as they are assisted to ascend to power and dish tenders whilst people are suffering. The PEC noted the insults directed to some leaders of the Alliance and call upon the Alliance to deal with these tendencies. It cannot be correct that there are people who are determined to destroy the people’s movement by insults using vulgar language to the Chairperson of the ANC, the Secretary of the Party; this is an affront to the people of the country and the province who had put trust in these leaders. 

OUR BELIEF IS THAT THE WORKING CLASS HAS NEVER FAILED TO DEAL WITH CASUALTIES:

  • We dealt with apartheid and its surrogates
  • We dealt with the class project
  • We dealt and contained the new tendency

Even now if what is called “The Premiers League” is something in existence and operation it must be dealt with harshly so that the working class is saved. To this end the PEC reiterated the sentiments as was espoused in the Provincial Conference of Cosatu in July to support the ANC led by the chairperson Comrade Senzo Mchunu.

Lastly the PEC resolved to request COSATU to:

  • Request a bilateral with the ANC in the Province
  • That COSATU must request the ANC and other Alliance partners to convene the Alliance Summit in the Province
  • That an urgent Political Council of the Alliance be convened

These must be done so as to create a platform for the Alliance to engage on political issues in the Province.

On 2022 Commonwealth Games

The PEC congratulated EThekwini Municipality for being identified as a host for these games. The PEC further noted the silence on the matter as we don’t hear much about this big achievement. The public must know that this is not an achievement for the municipality but it is a victory not even for South Africa only but for Africa as a Continent as it will be for the first time that the games are played on the African Soil. To this end the PEC congratulate the leadership of the Metro led by the Mayor Hon Cllr. James Sikhosiphi Nxumalo.

On 2015 year END RESULTS

The PEC wants to congratulate all teachers who have been busy since the beginning of year working under pressure because of last year’s results to ensure that they dedicate their time to teaching and learning. We are convinced that the Matric Results for 2015 will improve. This is informed by the programme that we agreed upon with the department that is currently running. What we like about the programme is that it assists both the learner and the teacher. The union is proud of the teachers that we have in the province. We also appreciate the commitment of the curriculum delivery branch in ensuring the programme is running and their commitment on consultation.  The PEC also resolved to strengthen relations with Moses Kotane so that we continue to work together in assisting our schools.

Thank you

Prepared by the Secretariat on behalf of the PEC

Provincial Secretary : Nomarashiya Caluza
Deputy Secretary : Bheki Shandu

e-mail :kznps@sadtu.org.za