27 October 2016
The South African Democratic Teachers` Union welcomes the Medium Term Budget Policy Statement presented by Finance Minister in difficult economic and political conditions not only in the country but world-wide.
We welcome the fact that in the light of falling revenues, the government is still committed to financing the country`s main priorities - education, health, social services and infrastructure.
We welcome the undertakings and commitments to the following:
On tertiary education:
We know this is way below the expectations of the thousands of students in tertiary institutions who are calling for free education. We are aware that the matter of free education cannot be realised by government alone, we support the Minister`s call to business to also come to the fore and lend a hand. We are calling on government to expedite the process towards finalising a law on Wealth Tax, to allow the wealthy, who are primary beneficiaries of our education system to pay for quality, public and free education. The government cannot just make a call to business, the government must legislate education tax on the corporate and the wealthy.
On school infrastructure backlogs:
On social services:
As we welcome all above, we are however concerned about the manner in which the Medium Term Budget Policy Statement has treated public sector employees as it seeks to suggest that the 2015 public sector wage settlement is limiting the availability of funds for crucial public services. It further reads that if public-sector workers and government are able to reach a balanced agreement on wages and productivity when the agreement expires in March 2018, this would allow departments to plan for additional staff and make resources available to fund new policy priorities.
We would like to remind the Minister that government is elected by the people of South Africa and must not allow the IMF, World Bank and rating agencies to replace the process of collective bargaining. The government must come to the PSCBC and table whatever proposal they have about these important issues. The Treasury must respect the current collective bargaining processes and stop this arbitrary posture it has adopted emboldened by those who are only interested in liquidating the process of collective bargaining namely the rating agencies.
As a union in the public sector representing teachers and workers in the education sector, we believe the 2015 settlement was not made out of greed but it had to meet some of the concerns of our members. We cannot wait until April 2018 before we can get additional staff and more resources. Our resources are stretched to the limit as the Post Provisioning Model continues to subject teachers to overcrowded classes and we have instances of teachers not getting paid for months. This has untold effects to the wellbeing of teachers and to the provision of quality education.
Early Childhood development remains a cornerstone of any successful education system. The country will have to direct enough funding to create a conducive environment wherein all our children, in particular for those from poor and working class families to also access quality early childhood development . This will improve the chances of all our children to progress and develop their full potential.
We are happy to note that the matric exams started smoothly with little challenges yesterday. We call on all matriculants to focus and dedicate these last few days to realise their dreams of getting a matric certificate. We know their teachers have done enough in the twelve years to prepare them for this moment. We wish them good luck.
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