The South African Democratic Teachers’ Union (SADTU) was launched in Johannesburg on the 6th of October 1990.
This was an historic occasion, bringing together a range of racially divided teacher organisations into a unitary structure with a progressive vision. In doing so SADTU challenged the legitimacy of ethnic education departments and made an important contribution to the struggle for non-racialism in South Africa.
The idea to form a national and non-racial teachers’ union originatedat a conference of teachers in Harare in April 1988. The variousorganisations present at the Harare Conference – ATASA, UTASA,TASA, NEUSA, DETU, WECTU, EDASA, PTU and the PTL committed themselves to work towards the establishment of one national teachers’ organisation in a “unitary, non-racial and democratic South Africa”.
These “Harare Accord” organisations formed the National Teacher Unity Forum (NTUF) under the convenorship of the Congress of South African Trade Unions (COSATU), and initiated a process of building one organisation out of the many which existed.
As the NTUF developed, ECTU, ELPTU and MATU were admitted as affiliates, and the NTS and TTA as observers. The unity process culminated in the establishment of SADTU.
SADTU presently represents more than 250 000 teachers and workers in the education sector, making it the largest teacher organisation in the country. It has become an affiliate of COSATU,the trade union federation in South Africa.
The Union also enjoys international affiliation to Education International (EI), the All Africa Teachers’ Organisation (AATO) and the Southern Africa Teachers’ Organisation (SATO).
The main aim of SADTU is to eradicate all forms of discrimination in education and to strive towards a free and democratic system of education in South Africa.
SADTU teachers are strongly committed to overcoming the serious legacies of apartheid education, and view their union as an effective structure through which they can participate in a transformative programme of national reconstruction and development.