SADTU, once more, pleads for fairness in posts for Cash Investigations

7 May 2016

The South African Democratic Teachers Union notes with grave concern the further postponement of the release of the Ministerial Task Team report into allegations of selling of educator posts.

SADTU has been on the receiving end of allegations that it is involved in these irregularities and an impression has been created in the public domain that these irregularities are widespread and, in the main, sponsored or facilitated by SADTU.

The public has also been informed that SADTU controls six of the nine provinces. Recently, further accusations were made against SADTU when the release of the report was postponed suggesting that the union was responsible for the said delay.

SADTU wishes to point out the following for the record; we are as disturbed as everyone else regarding the allegations of these irregularities. Whilst some evidence has emerged pointing that certain individual members of SADTU may be implicated, SADTU reiterates its position that it condemns any such action of any of its members in the strongest possible terms. It is in this context that SADTU supported the appointment of the Task Team and gave its full cooperation and continues to do so.

SADTU will, once all evidence is available and where necessary, take appropriate action against any member implicated and found to have been involved in such irregularities.

SADTU however, wishes to place on record certain pertinent issues in the processes of the Ministerial Task Team in an effort to refute any suggestions that the Union seeks to prevent the release of the report.

Prior to the appointment of the Ministerial Task Team and the publication of the reports of these alleged irregularities by the City Press, SADTU had already reported the Kaalfontein primary school(2006), 2010-2011 in Soweto North cases to the Department for investigation. In the first meeting with the MTT we further referred them to a district in Tshwane where an official of the department was alleged to be involved in the selling of posts. Regrettably, these cases appear not to have been investigated and appropriate action taken. We are of the view that the Department must explain to the public why these matters were never followed up and investigated by the Ministerial Task Team.

After the release of the Interim Report of the Ministerial Task Team, SADTU made extensive comments and communicated its views on the Report to the Ministerial Task Team requesting it to reconsider some of its findings and/or to provide evidence of its findings to enable SADTU to make further comments prior to the finalisation of the Report. Therefore, even as the MTT finalised its report, SADTU had on its own initiative made comments to the MTT.

Regrettably the MTT, save to acknowledge receipt has neither responded nor engaged with us on the concerns we have raised. Instead, the MTT referred us to the Minister. We release our correspondence to the MTT to enable the public to have a proper understanding of our concerns raised even before the report was finalised.

We also release these letters for the public to appreciate the efforts we have taken to have these concerns addressed. It was after the MTT directed us to the Minister and when it became clear that the report will be released without our concerns being considered that we instructed our Attorneys to liase with the Minister in this regard. This was after the Minister announced that she will be releasing the report.

Following our Attorneys` letter to the Minister, all unions received a letter from the Minister together with a copy of the final report directing all unions to make comments to the MTT by the 15th April 2016 and representations by the 29th April 2016. SADTU as with other unions made its comments by the 15th April 2016.

SADTU expected the MTT to consider and respond to our comments in time to enable us to make representations by the 29th April 2016. Once more the MTT has not even acknowledged receipt of our comments. This therefore meant the process, as directed by the Minister, collapsed. We have written to the MTT as directed by the letter from the Minister to draw to their attention our desire to hear the response to our comments and make representations. It was as a result hereof that the Minister requested a meeting where the above problems were once more drawn to her attention. We believe that it is as a result hereof that she elected to further postpone the release of the report. We must reiterate that at no stage did SADTU request that the release of the report be postponed. Any such suggestion is devoid of any truth.

SADTU has however made it clear that in the light of the glaring irregularities in the report of the MTT, SADTU and its members reserved their rights to take legal action should that be necessary. SADTU has also made it clear that any such legal action will be solely for the purposes of enforcing the directive of the Minister as contained in her letter and not to stop the release of the report.

SADTU is also aware that despite the concerns it raised, the report proceeded to be processed through the cabinet process. SADTU does not have any power to stop the Cabinet discussing the report but wishes to express its disappointment that the report continued to be processed despite the directive that unions make comments and representations.

We release the letter from the Minister to enable the public to have an appreciation of what we state above. We also draw to the attention the fact that as per the letter, the Minister has requested that we draw to the attention of the MTT persons in respect of whom findings were made but these people were not afforded an opportunity to state their case. We have done so and expect the MTT to give these persons such an opportunity before the report is released. This again did not happen.

SADTU wishes to reiterate that it is as much desirous as anyone else that the report be released and will support any lawful steps in those instances where evidence of wrongdoing exist.

However, equally SADTU objects in the strongest terms to the violation of the rights of its former and current members and its rights as a Trade Union and has every right to exercise its rights. SADTU and its members are entitled to a fair process which we view as a non-negotiable. SADTU does not want the report to lose its credibility solely because proper procedures were not followed. SADTU believes that this will not be in the public interest.

SADTU will not allow the right-wing agents in the MTT to destroy unions. They have leaked the so called final report to their handlers and want to confuse the public.

We urge the Minister to enforce her directive to ensure that this process is concluded in a fair manner so that the report can be released to the public as soon as possible. Despite all these problems SADTU remains fully committed to give its full cooperation to ensure that this process is concluded.

Note to Editors: SADTU correspondences to the Ministerial Task Team, as well as the letter from Basic Education Minister are available on our website: under MTT reports.