The South African Democratic Teachers’ Union (SADTU) has expressed anger and disgust at the Anglican Church’s resolution calling on its followers who are also SADTU members to transform the Union or resign.  They further accused the Union of corruption and laziness.

The 260 000 membership of SADTU who form 70% of teachers in this country feel deeply offended by this resolution. This matter was raised at the SADTU Cultural Festival coinciding with World Teachers Day in Mbombela, Mpumalanga province. The Festival brought together more than 1 400 delegates from all nine provinces.  They sang traditional music and sang different forms of traditional music and danced.  Mpumalanga province’s MEC for Education addressed the World Teachers Day dinner. She commended teachers and SADTU for the wonderful work they do towards the transformation of education under trying circumstances.  She encouraged them to work with their communities on issues that would bring development.

As SADTU, we raise our hats to the Union that single-handedly led the struggle for the transformation of education from an entity that was divided along racial, ethical and gender lines to one. The Union was still continuing with the struggle. Being in a democracy for nearly 20 years, it pains us to find different types of education – one for the poor and one for the rich - which is not of our making.
We maintain that the majority of our members are dedicated to the profession but are frustrated by the fact that they are not receiving sufficient support like resources to teach in schools and are not sufficiently developed in order to teach the new curriculum.

 The synod was opportunist in adopting an antagonistic posture against the union and we are not surprised because it has become fashionable to see church leaders or men of the cloak organize against the COSATU unions like in the mining sector. This reactionary resolution is not different from the posture adopted by the DA to conceal their real agenda: target the COSATU affiliates in order to weaken the ANC. We reject the synod’s call with the contempt it deserves and its attempt to interfere in labour issues and the rights that we fought for. Its call for education to be declared an essential is dead call. We will not allow education to be colonized by the Anglican Church. The capitalists are exploiting our mineral resources and expatriating the profits when our people are experiencing grinding poverty and the synod is championing this day light robbery and want to silence the voice of the voiceless. Our communities are experiencing violence but according to this synod everything is well because this funded violence is aimed at destabilizing our country in favour of the imperialists. SADTU members are conscious, have political clarity and  committed themselves to transform education. They have adopted an uncompromising position to use education as a liberation tool and will not be deterred by these parasitic utterances.

The dictatorial and judgmental stance by the Anglican Church is totally unbecoming for an institution. It lacks the Christian agenda but reeks of a political agenda. We know South Africa is a couple of months away from the national elections and everyone wants to get back into the limelight. We won’t allow any one to use SADTU as a springboard.

South Africa is facing a rapid decline in its social and moral values. Teachers are beaten up and threatened by the learners they teach. Drugs have become the new entertainment tool for both the youth and adults leading to havoc in many families. However, the Anglican Church is silent on these when we expect them to take a leading role in moral regeneration. We expect them to be the first to shout the loudest on these issues but they have chosen to go after SADTU.

SADTU is a peaceful organization and we want peace at all times. We therefore appeal to other churches not to follow on the Anglican Churches’ footsteps but to strive to bring about peace, communication and harmony among communities.

We would like to warn the churches not to allow themselves to be used as pawns in politics.

ISSUED BY: SADTU Secretariat