26-27 August 2016
The South African Democratic Teachers Union held its 3rd National Executive Com-mittee meeting of the year from the 26th to 27th of August 2016, Kempton Park, Ekurhuleni. The NEC reflected on a number of issues that concern us as education professionals specifically and broadly as members of society within a developmental state.
On teachers having sexual relations with learners
The NEC noted with disgust that this conduct shames us as teachers. We further noted that some within our profession do not see our learners as their children but as potential sexual objects. The NEC is angered by these criminals who exploit the socioeconomic status of these learners, who are from the working class and the poor. These teachers who destroy the dignity of the learners by engaging in inap-propriate relations do not belong to the profession, and their conduct puts the stat-ure of the profession into disrepute.
These heartless and senseless individuals steal the future of our learners by com-promising the learning and teaching environment to the detriment of those taken advantage of.
To this end the NEC condemns this kind of unprofessional behaviour in the strongest possible terms and calls upon the parents to press criminal charges.
The NEC further reminds the members that violating the Code of Conduct of SADTU by engaging in inappropriate relations with a learner is a dismissible offense. The Union cannot defend this kind of heartless conduct.
As an organisation that is at the forefront of advancing the rights of the girl child in particular, we refuse to be associated with such individuals.
Further that, we are calling on society and our parents to close ranks and expose these animals who take full advantage of poverty of these learners and continue to subject them to class and patriarchal exploitation.
Non-payment of temporary teachers
The NEC expressed its concern with the non-payment of temporary teachers, par-ticularly in Limpopo, despite the repeated attempts by the Union to address this is-sue. 205 temporary teachers in the province are yet to receive any form of income for the past few months. We see this act - that cannot be justified by the provincial DBE and treasury - as an insult and an extraordinary anti-thesis to our attempts to move the country forward through education. This shameful act reduces these teachers to beggars, as they live as paupers and heavily indebted with the mashoni-sas going after them. The union wonders how the concerned officials of treasury and DBE sleep at night when they subject our teachers to this misery. We are run-ning out of patience and will soon return the favour of extending our solidarity to our 205 colleagues through mass action. Slaves were not even treated like this. Slave masters used to provide a meal for each day of service; here we have teachers going for months without a salary. How do you expect performance from a hungry teacher?
To this end the NEC resolved to instruct the legal team to launch an urgent applica-tion to force the department to pay these hardworking teachers.
Further, that the NEC calls for withholding of salaries of all those officials responsible for this inhumane and unprofessional conduct of not paying the salaries of these teachers. Let them feel the pain of not receiving a salary.
2016 Local Government Elections
The NEC noted and extensively deliberated on the 2016 local government elections results. The national picture makes it clear at a glance that the ANC remains the most trusted organisation in the country. A majority of our people still see the African National Congress as the only vehicle to drive them out of the shackles of poverty and inequality. They believe in the policies of the ANC. There is however a clear electoral decline affecting the ANC. In essence a significant number of our people have given us a "no vote"; we cannot ignore that fact. This has resulted in us losing certain metros to the unholy alliance of the strange bedfellows in the form of the DA and the EFF.
The NEC also noted that the DA lost approximately 60,000 votes under the leader-ship of Musi Maimane (results 2014-2016). This decline happened at a time when the FF Plus experienced some growth in terms of their national performance. We are still analyzing the raw information but we believe this could be a silent vote of no confidence in our Garden Boy. It remains strange on how the so-called analyst couldn`t pick this up.
Some of the challenges that the movement faced are as a result of our own actions and internal contradictions. There is a strong criticism of "ANC arrogance" which could be caused by a growing social distance between the movement and the peo-ple, and crass materialism. Our observation is that the negative perceptions around the ANC are also fuelled by the slow pace with which it implements its own pro-worker policy resolutions. Some of these policies are within our sector such as the ANC resolution on Post Provisioning Norms; some are within the broader labour sec-tor such as the resolutions on the total banning of labour brokers and the minimum wage.
What we can tell from the results is that our people did not vote for another party, they just did not vote for the ANC as we had hoped they would. This could be an in-dicator of declining levels of confidence in our ability to service our people. What is unsettling though is that despite the recent results, instead of spending time and energy in an effort to improve on how we do things as a movement, some struc-tures of the ANC have already started making pronouncements of leadership pref-erences outside of the traditions of organization - a divisive approach that will likely paralyze the ANC at a time when we should be doing some critical reflection.
We still have hope in our ANC and the broader mass democratic movement. Through COSATU we will be calling for an urgent alliance summit to take stock of the elections results collectively, and to agree on a way forward. This is a call that we hope the ANC will receive favourably. The Alliance will have to inspire confidence and prioritize the socio- economic conditions of our people. We need to deal with the ugly effects of poverty, unemployment and inequality. This needs bold and deci-sive leadership. This might be the opportune time for the real radical transformation of our economy; we need to move from theory to action. The ANC-led alliance will have to break down the white colonial and apartheid socio-economic structure, a structure supported by the DA.
The people want to share in the country`s wealth as per the Freedom Charter.. We need decisive leadership.
To this end the NEC resolved that COSATU as a federation of the workers who ex-perience the harshness of apartheid treatment at the workplace must as a matter of urgency convene the Alliance Summit to deal with these challenges.
The state of COSATU (unity amongst affiliates and FAWU` exit)
We have also learned that the Food and Allied Workers Union has taken a decision to exit the federation regrettably. Although we anticipated that such a decision would be taken and tried our level best to help our comrades to avert.
We want to insist however that COSATU remains the home of all the workers includ-ing those members of FAWU that want to stay within. We will work closely with the federation to ensure that they remain organized and mobilized within COSATU.
The Federation will start to mobilize for battle with monopoly capital on 7 October 2016. Our members will join the thousands of workers and members of our federa-tion (COSATU) to call for decent work, a minimum wage, scrapping of e-tolls, ban-ning of labour brokers amongst others. We will join the provincial picket lines as a build-up to the mother of all battles. Our class enemy remain monopoly capital, our exploiters and destroyers of our lives.
The Fees-Must-Fall campaign
The NEC noted recent reports indicating that university students were, once again, preparing to stage mass protests against tuition fee increases. Whilst the students have a valid point, some were attempting to seize this and render the sector, if not the country ungovernable for political purposes.
The NEC cautioned against the full support of the current campaigns because they have been hijacked by ultra leftists. It expressed support for the call from Progres-sive Youth Alliance (PYA) structures for free higher education for the poor. It said the concept of an "education tax" as proposed by some structures within the PYA should be fully understood and explored. Business is the main beneficiary of our education system and they should pay for this and stop being parasites , through liv-ing and sucking the blood of the public purse whereas their profits continue to grow with no real returns to society.
The NEC expressed support for the call for the scrapping of application and registra-tion fees as they were a form of financial exclusion.
It called for urgent focus on the "missing middle" a category under which public ser-vants fall and are not catered for by the NSFAS.
The NEC criticized the pronouncements by some tertiary institutions that they were going to increase fees for 2017 academic year whilst the work of the Presidential Commission on the same issue has not been concluded.
The Union has noted the disturbing developments in Pretoria Girls High School where black learners have been effectively discouraged to embrace their culture and way of being. We find it unacceptable and insulting that to this day and age, it is still viewed as undesirable for black learners in formerly whites only school to have a physical image that represents who they are. We condemn this racism and call upon the learners to unite and resist being changed into something they are not. The learners must be proud of who they are, and tell the school management to change these racist rules. We call on the MEC to act decisively on the matter and to protect our culture and heritage in our schools.
We have received reports about certain statements attributed to the Premier of the Western Cape, Hellen Zille in a recent woman`s month event in Cape Town. It is a reported that Zille suggested in her speech that only girls who had not claimed a child support grant should receive free higher education. Whilst we are taken aback and disgusted by such remarks from a provincial government leader, we feel vindi-cated as a union because we have always warned our people against the inherently racist and backward nature of Zille and the DA. It is just unthinkable that a whole government leader can suggest that girls who became young parents must be con-demned to a life of poverty and no access to opportunities that can be brought by access to education. Zille should know that these children come from lower socio-economic communities where facilities were denied to them because of the apart-heid economic structure. For them receiving higher education is freedom from pov-erty and dependence.
We will always be in the forefront of protecting the girl child and we believe that poverty and child birth should not be used as an excuse to affect some sort of a black "population control" measure as was the case in the apartheid era. We thus want to condemn in the strongest terms possible the statements attributed to Zille.