6 March 2019
This press conference takes place following meetings the Union held with the Department of Education in the province
In three days' time, the world will be celebrating International Women's Day. SADTU will commemorate this day by recommitting to the fight against women abuse and domestic violence. The recent video that was in circulation showing Bongekile Simelane Aka Babes Wodumo as a victim of domestic violence and women abuse in the hands of her lover Mandla Maphumulo Aka Mampintsha is a true reflection of what is taking place in our society. Even though there are good men, there are still pockets who see themselves as superior to women. Those are the men who do not value women. They see women as their objects to be kicked around and beaten. What we see in the video is just one of many incidents that remain unreported and that is why SADTU applauds Babes Wodumo for being brave by taking the stand to expose the suffering she is subjected to in the name of love. Violence against women can cause long-term physical and mental health problems. Violence and abuse affect not just the women involved but also their children, families, and communities. As teachers we have witnessed some behaviours by learners which are an indication of a child raised in a violent environment. SADTU must join hands with other organizations in campaigning against the scourge of domestic and gender based violence. SADTU KZN will be part of the Union's national International Women's day celebration in Free State. SADTU commits to continue with her workshops on domestic and gender based violence and we hope to extend the workshops to our communities.
UNFAIR TREATMENT OF QUALIFIED TEACHERS IN THE DEPARTMENT
The Department of Education in the province has been ignoring the reality that many of these employees have now qualified as teachers. These include clerks, Grade R teachers, security personnel, cleaners and groundsman. These workers, having been exposed in the school environment, decided to enrol with institutions of higher learning and now have their B Ed degrees, Post Graduate Certificate in Education (PGCE) and National Professional Diploma in Education (NPDE). They continue working as they were because the Department decided to turn a blind eye on this reality and only prioritizes Funza Lushaka bursary beneficiaries. This has been happening for many years now and SADTU strongly believes that this equals discrimination and our call IS FOR THE DEPARTMENT TO SUBJECT ALL QUALIFIED TEACHERS TO EQUAL EMPLOYMENT OPPORTUNITIES regardless of whether a person studied through a bursary or not. Secondly, the Department should commission a study to check whether there is still a shortage of teachers in South Africa, especially in KZN. This would assist in determining whether it is still necessary to have these Funza Lushaka bursaries. Also, the Department as it has the responsibility of integrating Grade R and Early Childhood Development (ECD) into mainstream, must make available funds to assist those who still have certificates and diplomas. The very same Funza Lushaka can be used to assist these workers to get the necessary qualifications. During this time of transition, SADTU vows not to accept any ill-treatment and harassment of these employees by any officials of the department. No Grade R teacher must be terminated. All those who have been terminated must be re- instated with immediate effect.
SADTU believes that the above qualified teachers should be treated fairly. We must say that we have engaged the department on these matters and we made it clear that the Union will no longer be part of processes discriminating and pitting workers against one other. Based on the fact that there is consensus on most issues we both agreed to take matters to the Provincial Education Labour Relations Council (PELRC) hence the Staffing Committee meeting sitting today on the 6th of March 2019. We know that other Unions will support this progressive move. By other Unions we mean those that are recognized by the Education Labour Relations Council (ELRC) and are part thereof being CTU ATU.
It is important that we raise this because we have recently seen groupings of disgruntled people shouting on education matters and disrupting teaching and learning in our schools under the pretext of representing teachers when they have no audience. These groupings have no right to do that and they know this painful reality. SADTU notes a fraudulent settlement agreement between the department of education in Kwazulu Natal and one union. The CCMA settlement purports to be granting LRA Section 13 as well as stop order. We are challenging the HOD Dr Nzama to investigate how that so-said settlement was sourced and who gave a mandate to two junior employees (Mr M.C Mtungwa and Ms M.B Mtetwa) of the Department in Umlazi District to sign on behalf of the Department. We demand that the investigation be concluded within seven days.
As we speak, some schools have not received the reviewed PPN certificates or responses for that matter. This means these schools operate with the wrong number of teachers and as a result teaching and learning is compromised. We believe the department does this because they know our teachers are self-motivated and results will continue to improve even though there is little support given to schools and teachers. Also the department does not want to allocate adequate number of teachers informed by their narrow minded mentality of wanting to save at the expense of our teachers.
SADTU believes it is high time that we consider mobilizing our members to no longer subject themselves to this modern day form of slavery.
ON NON-TRANSFER OF FUNDS TO SCHOOLS
SADTU has also gathered from principals that schools in the province have not received their financial allocations due to them as from October 2018. The 30% of their allocations were to fund many school activities. This disturbing trend has marred the department for many years. Principals have again, been forced to use their personal incomes to pay for domestic accounts and other critical necessities to keep schools afloat. Some schools, as they are not getting their allocation, the electricity bill for example goes up every day such that even when the allocation comes it becomes difficult for schools to settle their debt which is why even now there are schools owing more than R200 000. This is despicable and reflects unacceptable ineffectiveness of the department to deliver on its mandate. Since the suspension of the former CFO, the department of education has failed to show leadership and innovation in management of its purse and its fiscal prudence continues to cause instability in schools.
The appointment of the Acting CFO never assisted the department and we wonder how much is he being paid for failing to assist the department to be on its feet financially. Under his stewardship we witnessed failure of the department to pay Principals whose schools were regraded in 2014 to date and qualified for salary adjustments. Since he came in, the department has failed on very important mandates. We doubt his capacity and whether he understands the department of education and its priorities. SADT therefore calls for his removal. The case of the CFO has taken long, it cannot be correct that a person suspended in 2016 her matter is still not concluded in 2019. The Department must consider getting her back. At least there was stability during her time especially when it comes to payment of school monies. SADTU is also worried about the monies that the Department uses to hire these expensive law firms to represent it. Why is the Department not utilizing that money to create capacity within?
Schools in Umlazi are being robbed of their last financial year allocations, the 30% for other LTSM. This is unfair, schools cannot be made to suffer because of corruption. In February 2018 SADTU informed the public about the corruption of about R88m in the district. People thought that we were making stories and telling lies. As we speak, officials were suspended and disciplinary processes are underway. SADTU demands that schools be given what is due to them.
SAFETY AND SECURITY IN SCHOOLS
A growing but troubling trend is that of violence and crime in our schools. Our schools have turned out to be like war zones. Both teachers, other workers and learners are subjected to traumatizing situations where they have to witness these attacks. Some learners have become violent to an extent of physically assaulting their teachers. Teachers fear for their lives and dignity but are expected to teach as if nothing has happened. In Isiphingo late last year teachers were robbed at gun point and computers were stolen. In Phoenix a school principal was subjected to all sorts of attacks for defending education and wanting to ensure that the environment for teaching and learning is conducive. One teacher was robbed of her car last year when she was submitting papers at the circuit office. These few cases are amongst many; they are an indication that something has gone wrong in our schools and society. We have seen learners beating each other to the level of killing other learners. In a school at Umlazi a week ago teachers were beaten by learners, same as in Thornwood High school. A societal debate that must give out solutions is necessary. SADTU has written papers on this and has participated in other platforms engaging on the very same matter. We will continue to use whatever platform to address the issue of violence in our schools but we won't be part of any populist campaign like #shutdown led by faceless people through social media networks. We note the message that is currently circulating on social media platforms propagating for a shutdown in education. Our members will not be party to that shutdown.
SADTU feels strongly that the sentence given to the North West learner who killed a teacher is too lenient to send a message that can deter anyone from committing this act against any teacher.
APPRECIATION OF THE POSITIVE RESPONSE BY EMPLOYER
Following the meeting we had with the Department of Education especially on Grade R matters, we see the Department convening meetings with Grade R teachers and we hope these meetings will assist them in getting support to upgrade their studies. We are also looking forward to the meeting which the Department agreed to convene between us and district facilitators. We agreed on the date of 8 March 2019. We have also selected a team of Grade R teachers who will be part of the SADTU delegation that will be continuing with engagements with the employer.
We commit to the Quality Learning and Teaching Campaign (QLTC) knowing that quality public education will liberate our people from poverty. We further commit to expose the pyramid schemes grandstanding as unions in the education sector.
Issued by the Secretariat
Deputy Provincial Secretary