SADTU NEC meeting post statement
The National Executive Committee of The South African Democratic Teachers` Union had its last ordinary session at The Lakes Hotel in Benoni, Gauteng on Friday, 29 August. This ordinary session of the NEC was the last one before the Union’s all important 8th National Congress take place in October when delegates from all nine provinces will deliberate on education, political, labour and socio-economic policy matters.
The NEC reflected on a number of pressing issues and provided leadership to the Union’s over 260 000 members in the following manner:
The consolidation of wage demands for the next round of negotiations
The NEC has noted the delay in implementing collective agreements in the Public Service as a whole which causes demoralization of the Public Servants. It further noted lack of progress in addressing the parity issue for the teachers and the de-professionalization of the teaching profession by giving teachers R900,00 as housing allowance.
The NEC viewed this as an insult to the profession and called for the housing allowance to be changed with immediate effect.
The NEC consolidated the demands for presentation to the COSATU Public Service Joint Mandating Committee. These consolidation took into account the impact of the inflation on the wages of teachers who are lagging behind their counterparts in the Public Service as a result of the 0,5% difference in pay progression and notches between teachers and other public servants. The delay cannot be tolerated because the sector is losing teachers for greener pastures.
Government Employees Pension Fund
The NEC noted the recent confusion amongst public servants and educators in particular in relation to the GEPF. A baseless rumour had emerged that the GEPF was urging members to resign as the Fund was on a move to unilaterally change the benefits of members to such an extent that members may lose some benefits and their monies.
The leadership noted that the organization had taken some mitigating action and communicated to the GEPF and the relevant government departments to clarify the matter. Subsequently, the union communicated with its structures and compelled the GEPF and employer (DPSA and DBE) to engage on a vigorous information sharing campaign to correct this rumour as it has the risk of bleeding the state dry of key skills needed in our developmental trajectory.
The leadership is therefore calling upon the Treasury to put a moratorium on the pension reform and embark on a process of concluding agreement of the comprehensive framework on Social Security for our people. We further call upon the Treasury to adhere to the Batho Pele principles by being transparent and accountable.
We call upon the FSB to launch an intensive investigation against financial service providers whose financial advisers are spreading unfounded rumours which led to thousands of teachers resigning from the education system.
Northern Cape Schools closures;
The NEC expressed concern about the closure of schools in certain parts of the Northern Cape due to service delivery protests. In its view, education remains a right protected by the constitution and not a privilege. It is thus extremely regrettable that the parents of the concerned learners saw it necessary to prevent their children from going to school and used them as a protest tool.
We sympathize with the residents on their demands and are calling upon the government to improve on its delivery of services to the concerned areas, we want to make it clear however that the learners must be not be prevented from attaining their education because it is only through education that we can liberate the masses from the shackles of poverty.
Let no one jeopardize the future and opportunity of our children to learn and be liberated from poverty and underdevelopment. We must all protect the future of our children.
SADTU’s Provincial Conferences and the show of unity
The meeting also received reports from the provincial conferences which sat from May to August in preparation of the upcoming National Congress. From the declarations that were adopted, it is clear that SADTU members are united and want to see the union grow from strength to strength. Delegates in the provincial conferences were adamant that SADTU remains the only hope for educators and education workers. They insisted that everything must be done to protect the integrity of the union and its constitution in particular, our unity is sacrosanct! No amount of lies peddled and ill-discipline by those who have chosen to be above the organization will confuse members of our union, SADTU. Members of SADTU are teachers and professionals who remain committed to building a strong and militant SADTU to transform the education system.
Emerging tendency to subject the Union to the courts of law
The NEC condemned in the strongest terms possible the new tendency by some members to subject the organization to the courts of law. We view this as a deliberate act to undermine the union, its constitution, internal processes, the leadership collective and indeed the general membership. It is worth mentioning that the Union has won 2 court cases with costs in as many weeks, this has exposed the desperation, lies and inconsistencies of those who choose to ignore internal processes and elevate judges to be decision makers of the union.
State of Readiness for the Upcoming National Congress
The NEC received a report on the state of readiness of the organization to go into its 8th National Congress from the 2nd to the 5th of October 2014 in Benoni, Birchwood Hotel, Gauteng. The NEC concluded that it is indeed all systems go for the more than 1 500 delegates expected from the 9 provinces.
The main purpose of the congress will be for the Union to review its 2030 Vision adopted in the 2010 Congress. The delegates will further engage on how the organization has implemented its programmers and the direction to take for the next four years organizationally and in terms of other policy matters.
The emergence of parliamentary anarchy: A threat to our constitutional democracy
The NEC acknowledged that the last South African general elections yielded new political parties that have been afforded the privilege to represent their constituencies in parliament.
The leadership collective believes that ultimately, ours is a maturing democracy and that all citizens through their preferred political formations can participate freely in democratic processes. We must emphasize however that we find the theatrics that form the basis of the approach of some of the political formations in particular the pseudo-left red beret brigade called the Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF) unacceptable.
On the 21st of August 2014 the country witnessed anarchy being unleashed in parliament as led by the EFF to the utter dismay of many including ourselves. We are aware that this is the modus operandi of the EFF, anarchy and unruliness but we cannot accept a situation in which our democratic institutions are undermined and not allowed to function properly.
The EFF must not abuse and misuse the many freedoms that were so gallantly fought for by our people including the right to participate in Parliament. They have disgraced Parliament, they have disgraced South Africa, and they have disgraced themselves.
Our view is that all citizens of the country including parliamentarians must exercise their rights within the confines of the law. We thus refuse to be held at ransom by this “Jimmy-come-lately” formation and are calling upon all South Africans to reject with the contempt it deserves this attempt to nullify our democratic institutions.
The ANC was elected to govern and must do so unapologetically. The ANC must use its majority to change the lives of our people through the implementation of the infrastructural development, land redistribution, repositioning the Further education and training institutions to provide our economy with the scarce skills required and social cohesion.
The office of the public protector
The NEC is outraged at the conduct of the incumbent of the Office of the Public Protector. We uphold and respect the office of the Public Protector as enshrined in the constitution of the country including saving it from the incumbent itself.
The actions of Advocate Thuli Madonsela are clear systematic signs planned to create anarchy and divisions within our society and the ANC in particular. We have continued to observe leakages coming from her office including calling press conferences to engage with government when guidelines are clear as to where she needs to account to.
We have also observed Advocate Thuli Madonsela’s ambiguity in detailing some of the people she accuses of wrong doing for example, lately she said the ANC Senior Official leaked the letter to the office of the President which she mentions it was confidential. This is contradictory to the mandate of the office of the Public protector in which she must expose wrongs committed by public servants. What are her intentions of not disclosing the name of the person that leaked her communication to the office of the President? Is she not empowered do so? We had hoped that she would name and shame those that flawed regulations including even those working in her office if found contradicting the role of the very same office.
It is against this background that we view her conduct as that of somebody trying very hard to portray herself as the fourth branch amongst the spheres of government.
As a union, having fought many other injustices in our past and including the present, we have a moral obligation to protect the Office of the Public Protector from this incumbent. We can safely advise her that if she has interest in politics she must, just like Dr Ramphele Mamphela resign and launch her own party.
The office of the Public Protector is an important institution in the government of South Africa and it was designed in order to move South Africa forward and not to cause anarchy or confusion amongst the citizens of the country.
We reiterate our support for the statement issued by the ANC and SACP on their analysis regarding her conduct. We commend all the Alliance leaders from the ANC Chief Whip; Dr Mathole Motshekga, the Chairperson of the Portfolio Committee; the ANC Secretary General and Deputy Secretary General for defending the ANC, the integrity of parliament and the President. We further call upon all to support us in protecting this important Office.
We want to send a message to Adv Madonsela that she must allow parliament to handle the report which she has submitted and not meddle in the affairs of those who the people of our country have elected on the 7th of May 2014 to govern under the leadership of President Zuma. The people of our country voted the ANC against her wishes and she must accept their verdict. We will not allow her and her associates in business or the opposition parties to govern by proxy. She must stop using the office to attack the ANC with the intention of weakening it because that will not happen.
It is the view of the NEC as well that the calls by some in our society for the President to pay back whatever money is premature in the extreme and has taken away the privileges of Parliament to provide leadership in the matter. We are calling upon all South Africans to allow the Parliamentary processes instituted to unfold without hindrance to their logical conclusion.
The developments in Palestine
The NEC acknowledged that the world just celebrated a truce reached between Israel and Palestine bringing to an end 7 weeks of fighting in Gaza. Thousands of innocent Palestinians have since perished under constant Israeli bombardment. The people of Palestine have been denied their basic human right to life; the children of Palestine mean while were denied their right to reach their fullest potential through acquiring an education.
The NEC welcomed the truce but raised its concern with how civilization and humanity could have allowed such a situation to prevail in the first place.
Despite the historical complexities around this matter, the NEC is of the firm belief that our diplomatic and economic ties with the apartheid state of Israel must be reviewed with urgency. We must refuse as South Africans especially given our struggle history to be associated with such regressive states. It is against this background that we want to support the call to boycott amongst others Woolworths which has strong ties with the apartheid state of Israel.
The NEC remains unequivocal in its support for the Palestinian people in their struggle for self-determination, and is unapologetic in its view that the Palestinians are the victims and the oppressed in the conflict this conflict.
We call upon the peace loving people of the world to support the teachers and learners of Palestine to continue with teaching and learning. We must reject any justification of attacks by Israel on schools and health institutions because it is crime against humanity.
Lastly, the NEC would like to wish all our learners and in particular matric class of 2014 well for the trial examinations. We further encourage them to study even harder and prepare themselves adequately for the final exams.
ISSUED BY: SADTU Secretariat