2014 - A YEAR OF ACTION
The passing on of world icon, renowned statesman, a revolutionary with a passion for equality, democracy, justice and education Tata Nelson Mandela, caused 2013 to exit on a sad note. This cloud of sorrow was not only experienced in South Africa but the entire globe.
Sad as it was, we should however be comforted by the fact that even in his death, just like his living, Madiba made us proud of the fact that in our country and in our lifetime, we lived with such an outstanding man.
We felt the pain as SADTU because of our closeness to Tata. He was an honorary member of SADTU. In his keynote address during SADTU’s launch on 6 October 1990, Mandela described SADTU as a beacon of hope to put to an end to Bantu Education and lay a firm foundation for a single, democratic education system. We therefore cannot fail him but should work tirelessly to ensure his vision for SADTU.
We share Madiba’s sentiments on education as we believe and are witnesses to the fact that it is the best tool that one can use to change the world.
After Madiba’s death, we promised to preserve his legacy by doing all to protect the education system in South Africa and ensure that every child reach their potential and grow. We further declared that we would ensure that Madiba’s story is in history books around the world. We will honour Madiba by being critical in every area of education in ensuring that every child has a teacher on the first day of schooling in 2014. We will continue to mobilize every resource to professionalize the teaching profession and raise the quality of teaching through dedicated teacher development and in-service training. This is how we will honour our teacher, leader and revolutionary.
The unity of COSATU cannot be undermined
No amount of lies and unfounded speculations will undermine the unity of COSATU. Events within COSATU in 2013 that saw among others, the decisive action on ill-discipline led to unfounded speculations about the future of the Federation and the Alliance as doomsayers predicted a split.
Like we said in 2013, we will continue in 2014 to say we are fully behind COSATU’s decision to instill organisational discipline on any leader or staff member of COSATU. We declared at our NGC that SADTU should respect all Union leaders and members should respect the decisions of the leadership.
COSATU has its own constitution and we believe they are led by it. Who are we to dictate to them? We believe that all the affiliates have a right to question and seek clarification but not to dictate to the Federation.
The supremacy of SADTU constitution shall prevail
SADTU is also led by its constitution and resolutions, among others. The decision to instill organisational discipline within the Union was not based on thin air or emotions but was taken after lengthy debates and discussion among NEC members.
The disciplining of members or leaders in any organization is inevitable. We are all human being and we are therefore bound to err at times. That is why we have a constitution in order to serve as a guideline on how we should conduct ourselves.
The misinformation that went about tried to create an impression that it was for the first time in the history of the union that leaders were ever suspended. That is not true. Former President Willie Madisha was suspended in 2007.
In Defence of Education
The year 2013 was an eventful one for the Union as we engaged in many activities aimed at achieving the goals of our 2030 Vision to service members, create a learning nation, promote a development-oriented nation state, create international partnerships and build a delivery based organizational capacity.
One of our main ‘battles’ was the protection of collective bargaining, a right we fought so hard for.
We took our fight for the implementation of Collective Agreement No 1 of 2011 to the street in the form of marches and pickets and proceeded to the Labour Court. Although the year ended with not much success, our actions showed unity and commitment from members and leadership. We continued to show zero tolerant to corruption by senior officials. We refused to be a subcommittee of the department of education by demanding the implementation of signed agreements and the respect to collective bargaining processes.
However, this is not over, we will continue to fight these matters with as much vigor as we did in 2013. The DG has caused so much instability in education and will not be allowed in 2014 because the future of our children must be defended with everything we have. No amount of lies will deter us from rooting out corruption and patronage within the education system. Just like we defeated apartheid, we will defeat the gangsters of education.
On a positive note, programmes aimed at achieving our 2013 Vision continued to gain momentum. We saw thousands of our members receiving training in various fields but more especially in education with School Management Training for school principals and training for Foundation Phase teachers.
These will continue to multiply in 2014. We can no longer sit and wait for government for our development and that of our children.
However, Government should know that it has the primary responsibility of up-skilling teachers to be in line with the changes taking place in education. The success of our education depends on the investment the government has to inject in the training and development of teachers.
Leading the way in 2014
The year 2014 has two crucial dates in its calendar the national elections and our National Congress that will also mark our 24th anniversary.
During the NGC in October 2013 we declared that all SADTU members should take part in Alliance campaigns canvassing for the decisive two-thirds majority win for the ANC. All structures of SADTU engage in educating learners about the history of our country as part of preparations for the elections.
The National Congress will involve a lot of activities in the provinces, as they first have to organize and hold their conferences before the national event.
In a few days’ time the country will be abuzz with matric results. We sincerely hope for a better result in terms of both quality and quantity. We congratulate the IEB class for obtaining outstanding results. We hope the gap between the results of the rich and private schools and the public schools will soon diminish. Every child in South Africa should be given all the support possible in order to attain a quality pass irrespective of class.
In 2014, SADTU will continue with its campaign for quality public education together with its international counterparts who belong to the global education Federation union Education International (EI).
Forward the Quality Public Education, Forward!
ISSUED BY: SADTU Secretariat