SADTU urges members and the entire country to celebrate Workers' Day

30 April 2017

The South African Democratic Teachers' Union (SADTU) joins millions of workers in South Africa and across the globe to celebrate Workers' Day, May 1 in 2017.

In South Africa, May 1 conjures many memories of the workers' struggles waged by the Congress of South African Trade Unions (COSATU) for this day to be given official Workers' Day status by the Nationalist Party Apartheid regime.

Following the first democratic elections in 1994 and the ANC came into power, May 1 was among the first to be given the official national public holiday status.

As SADTU, we honour those who lost life and limb for the recognition of this day.

May 1 serves, among others, to honour trade unions for the role they have played in the struggle for workers' rights, ensure fair labour practice and to promote unity among workers

SADTU honours COSATU for fighting gallantly for the above. COSATU was the midwife that led to the birth of SADTU. Tasked with the work of coordinating the Teacher Unity Worker Forum which comprised of more than 18 teacher associations that were divided by race, colour and creed, they ensured that a unitary, non-sexist and non-racial union SADTU was born in 1990.

SADTU, as an affiliate of COSATU, has served the education sector with impeccable success. It has engaged in groundbreaking strikes that have won workers in this sector their rights. It has ensured engagement with the employer by ensuring that a chamber that represents education workers - the Education Labour Relations Council (ELRC) and the Public Service Co-ordinating Bargaining Council (PSCBC) for public service employees were established.

It has also engaged in struggles to ensure the delivery of quality public education and that education is not reduced to a commodity but remains a public good.

However, as we celebrate the day in 2017, it is sad to note that workers in South Africa are slowly shifting from the goal of building unity.

A few weeks ago, we saw the launch of the South African Federation of Trade Unions (SAFTU) led by disgraced former COSATU leader Zwelinzima Vavi He has every right to form his organization as the right to freedom of association is enshrined in our constitution.

However, we warn Vavi to stop peddling lies to lure people to his Federation

Forming SAFTU was not as a result of COSATU's failure to fight for workers' rights but it all had to do with Vavi's failure to respect COSATU's values motivated by greed and immorality that cost him his place in COSATU.

Under his leadership as COSATU General Secretary, Vavi failed to lead by turning a blind eye to Numsa's poaching tendencies which were in violation of the Federation's core principles of " One industry, One union".

He had sex with a junior staff member in the COSATU offices during office hours and further humiliated the staff member by calling her "nopatazane" (a woman with loose morals). His arrogance and self-importance led him to his downfall.

We therefore urge our members and the entire population to engage in marches and ralliesthat are due to take place over the length and breadth of this country on this day under the COSATU banner to demand:

  • Infrastructure in our schools;
  • Review of Post Provisioning Norms (PPN) which is currently causing teachers to teach overcrowded classrooms;
  • Smaller class sizes so that we can effect quality public education;
  • Implementation of the National Health Insurance (NHI);
  • Government to stop all attempts aimed at privatizing education;
  • Health and safety in the workplace;
  • Affordable public transport;
  • Banning of labour brokers.

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