The South African Democratic Teachers’ Union (SADTU) held its ordinary National Executive Committee (NEC) meeting from the 28th to the 30th of September at Southern Sun Hotel – Kempton Park, Gauteng. The NEC manages the affairs of the Union and executes policies and programmes as decided by the National Congress.
The NEC noted that the meeting was taking place in challenging times where the domestic and global economic crisis was worsening and that the United Nations was unable to intervene in wars taking place in many parts of the world because of the Western powers. The wars were driving high the cost of living and unemployment around the globe.
As the meeting took place towards the end of September – Heritage month, the NEC was convinced that social cohesion was under threat by emerging racial tensions and the emboldened DA clamoring to apartheid practices the Basic Education Amendment (BELA) Bill seeks to eradicate. The NEC declared that the heritage month should be celebrated in order to restore the culture and languages of the indigenous peoples that were degraded and destroyed by colonial apartheid.
As part of celebrating heritage, the Union will be hosting a National Choral Music Festival in Durban on the 5th and 6th of October to coincide with World Teachers’ Day ((5 October) and SADTU’s 33rd anniversary (6 October)
This year’s World Teachers’ Day theme, “The teachers we need for the education we want: The global imperative to reverse the teacher shortage,” highlights the shortage of qualified teachers around the world and a reminder for the need for increased public investment in education to ensure that public quality education is realized.
SADTU took part in the workshop convened by the Education Labour Relations Council (ELRC) for the employer and teachers’ unions to deliberate on cost containment measures as per the directive of the National Treasury.
The impact of austerity measures on our country would mean worsening economic and financial crisis, increased joblessness and poverty, deepening inequality, and deterioration of quality of education.
The workshop reminded parties to respect laws, policies, collective agreements. It recognised that the country needed to invest in education, research and development, technology, innovation, and infrastructure and that we cannot afford to be passive onlookers.
The NEC resolved to hold a special NEC meeting whereby the leaders of the tripartite alliance as well as Reserve Bank Governor will be invited to provide the NEC with an analysis of the country’s economic situation to enable the union to strategize on how to navigate these tough times.
On educational matters:
Selling of posts
The NEC expressed disgust at disgraceful reports about the selling of posts. The NEC reiterated its stance which it first proclaimed in 2014 and again in 2016 when these barbaric and counterrevolutionary acts were reported. SADTU distances itself from these incidents and will never condone nor tolerate any criminal acts in education. The selling of posts is corruption. It de-professionalizes the profession and denies highly qualified and skilled educators who are not connected and who do not have money fair opportunities for upward mobility.
The NEC reiterated the resolution taken at the 2022 National General Council to, among others:
- Encourage members with information to report such information to the General Secretary and law enforcement agencies; SADTU to work with law enforcement agencies to hold individuals accountable; encourage SADTU structures to deal with issues of selling of posts and infuse the anti-corruption and selling of posts elements in the Union’s “I AM SCHOOL FAN CAMPAIGN”.
The NEC adopted the recommendation that the SADTU should advocate for the DBE to explore the different uses of languages to improve learner outcomes. Further, SADTU should advocate for the full-scale implementation of the Mother Tongue Based Bilingual Education pilot in Eastern Cape in all provinces and for assessment practices to be aligned with codeswitching practices particularly for Grade 12 to ensure that no learner is disadvantaged.
The NEC welcomed the adoption of the Basic Laws Amendment (BELA) Bill by the Basic Education Portfolio Committee. The NEC further expressed disgust at the DA’s ridiculous challenge to the BELA Bill. Discrimination on the basis of race and language should not be tolerated by anyone in our country given our history but the DA and ACPD are hellbent on taking us backwards. SADTU supported the powers provided to Head of Department to be the person with final authority to admit the child because School Governing Bodies (SGBs) refuse to deracialize and integrate our children.
SADTU welcomes making Grade R the new compulsory school-starting age. The NEC welcomes the firm position to making every parent accountable to their child’s education and restore order in our society. The welcomes the emphasis that corporal punishment is no longer allowed at schools and called upon members to respect the dignity of the children and the law.
Learning Recovery Programme
The NEC rejected the proposal by DBE to redirect the Skills Fund to other programmes than for skills development. The NEC demands that National Treasury invests in education programmes that will ensure learning recovery is achieved.
The Learning Recovery Programme was put in place to assist schools to recover learning losses suffered because of the COVID-19 pandemic.
On organisational matters:
The NEC was satisfied with the Tripartite Alliance-led ANC election manifesto reviewal processes where communities were involved. The NEC urges all structures of the Union to participate fully in defense of education and political rights in the manifesto.
Educators are citizens and have a duty to protect their rights those of children and, therefore, they like any citizen have a right participate in parliamentary process with pride.
The NEC resolved that the manifesto must be strengthened to obligate everyone to denounce corruption and fight against it. It must be people centered in order to defeat the regime change agenda by apartheid beneficiaries.
Training and Development
The Union’s Curtis Nkondo Professional Development Institute, as part of Union Collaboration Training is training teachers in Unplugged Robotics for the visually impaired and learners with special education needs and Assessment for Learning (AFL).
The training is progressing well towards training 600 teachers in unplugged coding and 15 000 in Assessment for Learning. 432 Master trainers for Assessment for Learning have completed training and are now rolling-out the training in the province with the aim of reaching 15 000 teachers.
On Labour matters:
The NEC expressed its displeasure and disgust at the Department of Higher Education and Training for not inviting SADTU to a round table discussion on indicators to measure the state of innovation in TVET Colleges. The PSA and NEHAWU were invited to the roundtable. The NEC made it clear that SADTU, as a union in education, cannot be ignored when it comes to matters of the TVET sector. Further, SADTU represents its members who are lecturers in the TVET Colleges. This will be met with all the might of the members because the DHET had been dividing unions in education in cahoots with one union.
Servicing the TVET sector
The Union held a TVET Colloquium in August under the theme, “Reclaiming our Organizational rights and dignity of education workers in the education sector.” It appraised the functioning of the bargaining unit of TVETs in terms of relevant ELRC collective agreements, restructuring the Post Provisioning Norms (PPN) in line with current challenges, continuous professional development, case handling and dispute resolution.
ECD Concept Paper
The NEC raised misgivings regarding the ECD concept paper. The Heads of Education Departments Committee (HEDCOM) report was allowing provinces to pay ECD practitioners according to how much they can afford. SADTU has long requested consistency in terms of the payment of stipends. The Union is also not happy with the document proposing to recognise B.Ed. honours as the only qualification for new entrants and are reviewing the issue of the Diploma.
Housing for Government employees
The NEC noted, with concern, the slow pace or lack of implementation of the Government Employee Housing Scheme (GEHS). The NEC reiterated the Union’s stance that there should be no middleman, a reservation fund, and a voluntary contribution by government employees to the housing fund should be allowed.
On International developments:
In the case of eSwatini, the NEC noted that while the general elections were taking place, SADTU observed the worst form of union bashing. The Teacher Service Commission which is responsible for the appointment of teachers in eSwatini declared the Secretary General of the Swaziland National Association of Teachers (SNAT), “very dangerous.” The Commission has dismissed the SNAT and Southern African Teachers Organisation (SATO) President, Cde Mbongwa Dlamini. SADTU stands opposed to authoritarian rule and is in solidarity with SNAT.
Education international Africa region (EIRAF) conference
SADTU as a member of Education International – a global teacher and education workers labour federation with more than 32 million members – will be taking part in the 10th Congress of the EIRAF to take place in Johannesburg from the 19th until the 24th of November.
To be held under the theme, “Standing Together for Resilient Education Systems in Times of Crisis,” the Conference will create strategies for ensuring equitable inclusive quality public education for all despite the numerous challenges facing the region. It will review progress made towards the achievement of the United Nation’s Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) 4, objectives of the Continental Education Strategy for Africa (CESA), ways of rebuilding and strengthening the profession and our unions, racism, and decolonisation of education in Africa, Early Childhood Education as well as developing strategies to create safe and healthy schools and other education institutions.
ISSUED BY: SADTU Secretariat