Closing Address by the President of SADTU, Cde. Magope Maphila, SADTU National Congress

28 September 2019, Nasrec, Johannesburg

Comrade General Secretary
Comrade Deputy President
Members of the NEC
Leadership of Regions and Branches
International Community
Fraternal structures
DBE HODs led by the Director General Matanzima Mweli
Media Houses, both Print and electronic
Business community
Comrades delegates from all our structures
Friends and compatriots
Leadership of provinces, regions and branches
All protocol observed

We take this opportunity to congratulate the leadership of SADTU for their achievements in the following academic fields:

General Secretary Mugwena Maluleke - LLM (Masters in Labour Law) and MBA (Masters in Business Administration)
Deputy General Secretary Nkosana Dolopi - LLM (Masters in Labour Law)
Deputy President, Mabutho Cele - (Masters in Education Management
KZN Secretary, Nomarashiya Caluza - Post Graduate Diploma and an Honours in Education Management
National Organiser Mompati Jones Galorale - LLM ( Masters in Labour Law)

Admin. Secretary Cindy De Lange - LLB
Limpopo Provincial Secretary, Sowell Tjebane - LLB
Western Cape Secretary, Jonavon Rustin - LLM (Masters in Labour Law)
Western Cape Boland Regional Secretary and FTSS, Jacques Adams - LLM (Masters in Labour Law)
Eastern Cape Provincial Secretary, Chris Mdingi - MA (Masters in Curriculum Development)

Comrades, we have come a long way. You have demonstrated your leadership prowess by once again delivering a congress of this magnitude. I want to thank all delegates for indeed delivering this Congress as per the mandate of the members of this mighty Union.

You have carried the wishes and mandates of the total membership of Sadtu who are in all our secondary schools, primary schools, TVET colleges, in offices, Universities and ECDs.

I salute you comrades.

Comrades, SADTU knows no any other interest. Our interest is the interest of the working class and the poor. We raise issues that are not of selfish - nature. We have been taught by the vanguard of the working class that our needs and interests are not above those of society. We are a subset of society. We are strategically located to feel the pulse and beat of the rural poor, the urban proletariat, the farm workers, the vulnerable and the poorest of the poor. We feel them. We teach their children. We see faces of poverty, children with no school uniform and those who walk bare foot into our schools and classrooms. We teach children who come to school in the morning without breakfast. We teach children coming from child headed families. We face trauma on daily basis, hense the wellness program that SADTU has initiated for its members.

We urge you. We urge the President of the Country. We urge the ANC, we urge parliamentarians to sacrifice a little, forgo their luxuries and offer the poor a hope of a better life. Not after another twenty - five years of Democracy.

Unemployment has reached a crisis level. Poverty is ripping apart the moral fibre of our society.

We are not alone in this battle. We are with COSATU and the SACP.

Let me quickly state that we, as SADTU submit ourselves to the vanguard leadership and direction provided by the leadership of COSATU and the SACP during this congress. You have indeed cde. Mapaila and cde. Bheki come to our rescue by directing and redirecting economic debates back to NEDLAC. You can count on us for further engagement and mobilisation of the forces to support and push for an economic strategy that will respond creatively to the needs of the working class, the poor and the unemployed. Organisational discipline is not optional irrespective of how maverick you are. We are yours comrades.

We urge the SACP and COSATU to intensify political education amongst the Unions. The Chris Hani Political Education program{The Chris Hani brigade} should and must be revived. We want to build a time - tested leadership in all our Provinces and Regions so that when the time has come for us to pass the baton, we shall all say "yes the revolution is in safe hands". The Union is and will be in good hands-collective leadership is who we are in all respect.

Political Education will help build disciplined and ethical leadership. The type of leadership who will know that it is not about themselves. A leadership type who will understand that the revolution is more important than its leaders.

It is about the people we lead and more importantly leadership is about serving those that we lead.

Political education will continue to inculcate what Jim Rohn calls the six essential traits of good character. We need leaders who have the following traits: Integrity, Honesty, Loyalty, Self - sacrifice, accountability and self - control.

Leaders must be honest, loyal and accountable. Lead the people with absolute humility and self - sacrifice and self - control. We call upon SACP and COSATU to deliberately build such leadership in the trade union movement and contribute to the development of the country through such leaders.

Our struggles are connected with the struggles of the poor in all other countries. We have to strengthen our solidarity work with the people across all other countries. It shall never be enough if we don't raise a voice to support the people and educators in Zimbabwe, in Palestine learning is practically hampered, in Congo and in Nigeria where armed bandits are free to abduct young learners. We have to be heard everywhere in the world where the voice of reason is drowned by the loud voice of war, hunger and destitution.

Comrades, delegates let us go back to the trenches and continue to intensify the battle against the violence prevalent in our schools. Let's go back to indeed fight against the scourge of women and child abuse in society because we believe that quality learning and teaching can only take place in an environment free of child abuse and neglect. Education can only take place in an environment of peace and tranquillity, devoid of violence, devoid of women and child abuse. It is our responsibility to defend the learners by using the sheer power of the truth. Let us revive the QLTC{Quality Learning and Teaching Campaign} campaign.

Comrades, let us go back to intensify the reading and learning campaign in our schools for if we don't, nobody will, hence the saying that: " we are the only ones we have been waiting for, no one else is coming" We are the only remaining remnants of the education revolutionaries still occupying the trenches with our boots on. It is in our hands to turn the tides of ignorance, neglect and poverty. We are the revolutionaries who should be on time and on task and do the honourable thing which is to teach.

We commit ourselves and we commit SADTU to lead a fight for the total eradication of inappropriate structures and mud schools. We shall support every effort by Government and Basic education in particular to strengthen quality public education through the provision of adequate classrooms, adequate school furniture, learning and teaching materials.

We shall encourage Government and Provinces to establish specialised schools in all our Special Economic Zones focusing on Agriculture, Mining, Maritime studies, ICT and Technology depending on the focus of each Special Economic Zone.

The Provinces should be able to ready the communities for meaningful participation in the economic opportunities that come along with the SEZs. Local communities will remain spectators as long Provinces do not train and educate them for the opportunities which will be available.

Comrades, let us go back and service our members. Let's go back to recruit and welcome all the ECD practitioners into our Branches and our sites. Let us go back to recruit and mobilise young educators who are joining this noble profession. No gatekeeping Cdes! Indeed, we have to go back and recruit student teachers to join the Student Chapters of the UNION in the Universities. All the students who are in the universities who are pursuing teaching as a career of choice are and must remain SADTU Members.

This is their Union. SADTU was created for them. They have a revolutionary task of taking it forward.

Comrades, we are ready to rattle the financial sector. We are ready to take what is rightfully ours. The massive financial strength and capabilities of SADTU members is in the hands of the wrong ones. The big banks and insurance houses are today raking billions of monies. This has let them to their arrogance and total disregard of the UNION which has grown them exponentially. They are in fact arrogant to the third degree of comparison. That is to the superlative degree. Biting the hand that feeds them.

SADTU has formed SADTU Financial Services, underwritten by Momentum, offering short term insurance, like cars and household items. Today all the SADTU members who have cars are insured and scattered all over. We are unable to use our collective numbers and strength to bring car insurance and household items to an affordable level.

We have manged to register SADTU Cooperative Financial Institution. We received a Certificate from the Reserve Bank of South Africa to open and operate the Cooperative Financial Institution. The power lies in our hands. We are our own liberators from the claws of the big banks and other institutions of similar nature. All the Mashonisas, micro-lenders and other loan sharks should be warned that their days of exploiting our members are over.

We are sending an sms, a telegram, an email to all the loan sharks and other arrogant institutions, the writing is on the wall "Mene, Mene, tekel upharsin".

Comrades, go and interpret this writing for them. They may not understand it. What it means is: MENE means - SADTU has numbered the days of their kingdom and brought that kingdom to and end. TEKEL means - They have been weight….. and SADTU found them wanting. Upharsin means - their kingdom is divided and given to the MIGHTY MEMBERS OF THE MIGHTY SADTU.

We have indeed come a long way. SADTU has launched the SADTU Journal and launched the SADTU history book. The UINION saw it fit to move into the 3oth Anniversary in 2020 walking hand in hand with its members. We have expanded the SADTU Members wellness to reach all our members through online contact services. This is a massive achievement.

Comrades, in order for our members to reap the benefits of all these, we need to reach every member, mobilise them to use these services. Mobilise our members to buy their car insurance from SADTU financial services, put savings in the SADTU Cooperative Financial Institutions and later use their own savings as loans instead of going to the loan sharks, and use for free the SADTU membership Wellness program.

Let us go back into our trenches and continue to do what we know best: Teach, teach and teach until something positive happens. Let us observe the No1 Commandment "thou shall love SADTU with all your heart and your mind"- "ha ke le mosebetsing, ke nahana ka wena, pelo yaka ea duma, wena SADTU".

Comrades, we wish you safe journey home, Arrive alive. Do not drink and drive.