SADTU Limpopo Province Media Statement regarding the re-opening of schools in the province

20 January 2016

SADTU Limpopo Province would like to take this opportunity to welcome all of its members and staff back to their respective workplaces after a well-deserved rest during the festive season. We believe that all of you took the time to recharge your batteries and energies for the tasks that lie ahead of us in the 2016 academic year. We hope that all of you are ready and raring to embrace the new academic year with a singularity of mind and resolve to shake things up and ensure that this year becomes one of the most successful one in our province with regard to delivering quality public education for all. The future of our children and society lies in our hands, hence our people expect no less from us other than to put our shoulders on the wheel and ensure that we improve things for the better!

Congratulation to the class of 2015

We would like to also congratulate the matric class of 2015 for the splendid work done! Realistically speaking the overall performance of 2015 indicates retrogression from the previous results of 7%. Having said that we believe the results should be understood within a proper context of what really transpired in our province in particular and other provinces broadly. That despite all the doom and gloom, our province was able to produce seven of the total 23 or so top performers in the country is something that is worth celebrating. We would like to doff our hearts off to educators who are the foot soldiers of education in our province, without whom we would have never achieved the feat that we achieved. As a union organising in the education sector we understand the concrete reality and the obstacles you had to overcome in order to carry your duties. We understand the debilitating and revolting situation you had to confront each day just to do what you are supposed to do at work. Sometimes the only motivation you have comes from the knowledge and realisations that the future of these children entrusted to you will be doomed forever were you to abdicate your responsibilities. We salute all of you for your efforts. As a union we are proud to be associated with your patriotic spirit. To the learners who have passed we are saying the world is your oyster, go and conquer it! Only the sky should be your limit! To those who have not been able to make it, our message to you is very clear “…our glory consists not in never falling, but rising up every time we fall”. Gather enough courage, dust yourself and you would realise that nothing is impossible in life.

Challenges of the moment

The festive season break has not lulled us into a false sense of believing that all systems are in place as we re-open schools. We know for a fact that we have waged courageous battles in the past to try and resolve some of the pertinent issues confronting us as a union; however some of those still persists up to today. While our country is engulfed by a re-emergence of acts of racist attitudes and behaviour perpetuated by racial bigots amongst our society, we in education are not spared either. We understand that we still have schools in our province that use language as a tool to exclude black children from accessing education. As a union we need to intensify our campaigns against privatisation of education and racism in our schools. Without further elaboration these are some of the challenges facing us:

  • Non filling of promotional posts by the department
  • The reduction of norms and standards monies paid to schools
  • Adult Education and Training Practitioners’ conditions of service by DHET
  • Infrastructure backlogs at schools in the province
  • Lack of proper teacher development
  • Lack of winter enrichment and spring classes to assist learners
  • The issue of rural incentive
  • The issue of school sports
  • The undermining of collective bargaining resulting in unresolved issues of 0,5 % and other related matters.
  • Housing Allowance

We call upon all our members to be combat-ready to carry these struggles forward for we understand that no one will give our rights on a platter unless we wage relentless fights to get what is rightfully ours. As workers we have got nothing to lose except the chains that bind us.

Notwithstanding the above mentioned challenges, it should be noted that the Union is further preparing itself for more confrontational campaigns around the following matters.

FETC/ TVET (Further Education and Training College / Technical and Vocational Education and Training)

We are noting the promises made by DHET to pay its markers before end of January 2016. This department is known especially in the FETC/TVET sector for promises that are never fulfilled. Conditions that markers have been subjected in the past recent years cannot be left unattended.

AET (Adult Education and Training)

Whilst it was noted that some attempts were made around AET salary matters towards the end of 2015, it still remains that no agreement has been reached to resolve the AET salary cuts in Limpopo and further note that AET educators in the Province are still subjected to varying salary payments compared to other Provinces. This matter has been sitting with us for a long time and the earlier is resolved the better. Members must be ready to engage in serious battles to resolve this matter guided by the slogan “Injury to one is injury to all.”

Post Provisioning

Post-Establishments are issued to schools to initiate Rationalisation and Redeployment of posts. The process once again demonstrates how the system/process of post-provisioning does not help schools especially small schools. The current post-provisioning does not take into account different subject streams; contextual factors and is only based on learner enrolment and apartheid based subject weightings wherein subject mostly done in African and rural schools are less weighted whilst subject done by minority and privileged groups are weighted more.

The Union has noted the huge cuts of educator posts especially in secondary schools with consequences of overburdening work to the already exhausted educators especially once again in small schools.

It has been discovered that the major reason for poor matric pass rate is the shortage of educators especially in small schools. This matter is very serious and need special attention.

SADTU has resolved at its recent NEC meetings that the current post-provisioning must be revised and the Union must carry campaigns to achieve these objectives and we are looking forward for Programme of Action to that effect.

Amendments to tax and Pension Funds

COSATU resolved to engage in Mass Rolling Actions in the recent Congress, if the Pension Fund Amendments can be passed into law without sufficient engagement of workers through Nedlac processes.

The amendments have huge implications on the workers. The need to access some of the pension fund contributions whilst still actively working, the challenges of the need for resources to handle funding for tertiary education for the children of the workers, attempts by bureaucrats to use pension fund rather than matters that assist workers; use and control of interest of pension funds are some of the critical issues to be ironed-out before passing those amendments into law.

SADTU is awaiting decisions from COSATU on how workers must respond to these arrogant provocations.

A call for an Education Indaba

We reiterate our call made through COSATU that as a province we must convene an Education Indaba or Lekgotla to allow all stakeholders to bring their ideas to the forth with a view of improving education in our province. The time for planning in silos should be a thing of the past!

2016 Local Government Elections

We have witnessed of late the barrage of insults levelled against our movement by the anti-majoritarian liberal offensive as led by the leading shop steward of monopoly capital DA and their disdain for trade unions such as SADTU. As revolutionaries organised under the banner of COSATU we reiterate our resolve to defend and consolidate the gains of freedom. We know that we will gain nothing out of fraternising with racists bigots harboured by the DA except to be defocussed and derailed out of our historic tasks and mission. To that end we are calling all our members to swell the ranks of our organisations SACP and ANC and to work tirelessly to ensure that the ANC wins decisively the upcoming local government elections.

The Union has noted with disgust attempts by opposition parties to discredit the IEC in preamting results of the elections in anticipation of their apparent defeats. Their posture does not need a scientific analysis, but to discredit IEC and blame everything on inefficiency of IEC for their defeat and not accept the results as part of their agenda to plunge the country into civil unsettlements.

Opposition parties will be met with equal confrontation for their attempt to segregate teachers from serving as IEC officials. There is no law that prohibits teachers from serving in the IEC. The IEC cannot discriminate against teachers because they are members of Unions and specifically SADTU. This is unconstitutional as they are employed as citizens who must serve their country. The IEC has allowed empty rhetoric by political parties to direct its policies. This will be challenged. We urge the IEC to respect the constitution. The Union is now the last man standing against the offensive onslaught by opposition for their narrow-empty handed narrative of regime change and racist approach towards reversing democratic gains achieved in the last 20 years and put the country back into subtle white privileges wherein some black elite parties are consumed into this narrative to discredit and dislodge democratic dispensation.

Teachers across the board have been serving and assisting the IEC to produce transparent and free elections. Any attempt to segregate teachers from society and in particular members of the Union, remain illegal. Teachers must across the board, unite against this human right violation by opposition parties and clearly these parties already show their colours. Teachers across the board must see opposition parties for what they are and always remember that these parties will treat teachers and workers harshly if they were given the responsibility to govern our local governments and the country. They have shown their dislike to teachers and members of SADTU in particular.

Prepared by SADTU Limpopo Province Secretariat