Post NEC meeting media statement

10 December 2015

The NEC reflected on the programmes undertaken by the Union in 2015, adopted programmes for 2016 and resolved on pertinent issues concerning education, health, security, the upcoming local government elections and the COSATU congress as follows:

1. COSATU Congress

The NEC re-affirmed the fact that the unity of our union and COSATU is sacrosanct.

2. Annual National Assessment

The NEC received a comprehensive report for our structures that clearly indicated that a great majority of sites did not participate in the administering of ANA. This is against a constant mi-information campaign that the DBE had embarked on a desperate attempt to five an impression that the ANA was taken up by a majority of the schools. The NEC extended a word of gratitude to all her members for overwhelmingly heeding the call not administer ANA. Our members stood firm and refused to be intimidated by the employer. We are of the view that this was the last chapter on ANA as we prepare ourselves to participate in the task team meant to remodel and introduce a new tool to assess the state of health of our education. We will be persuading our colleagues to consider a Tri -annual assessment system while linking it to targeted interventions prioritizing teacher development.

3. Hands off our police

We deplore the demonization of police. We deplore the use of the police as a punching bag by protestors. We deplore the charging of police by armed formations. We deplore the deliberate killing of police by criminals.

4. Commemoration of International Human Rights Day.

The pilot project is a disguise to privatize education using public funds. The transfer of state funds to the private provider may be a contravention of the Public Finance Management Act. Parents were not given a full explanation of the consequences of this privatization project. This project may also be in conflict with the legislation governing schools.

The NEC resolved that the Union will launch a campaign to oppose this project. The campaign will include among others, the mobilisation of affected communities and a possible court action to challenge the Western Cape Schools Act.

It calls for concerted effort from its member organizations to advocate for the full realization of the right to free quality public education and for equitable employment rights for education personnel in the private and the public sector and to advocate and mobilize against attempts to privatize and commercialize public education.
The NEC therefore called on government to legislate against profit-driven private institutions, particularly when they are in receipt, directly or indirectly of government funding intended for the well-being of the nation.

The NEC further called on Government to protect and promote the principle of access and equity for all students through the provision of Public Education which must set the standards for high quality public education.

We are totally opposed to the privatisation of education because it has had detrimental effects on the children of the working class.

On the right to decent and quality healthcare, the NEC called for the National Health Insurance (NHI) to be expedited in order to ensure that quality and an efficient quality health care. A quality health care system should be accessible to everyone and not for the benefit of the few. We believe the NHI will integrate the national health care system and make it to be more efficient

The NEC resolved that the Union will engage in campaigns directed at private hospitals that are listed at the security exchanges speculating on the lives of our people. We will continue to engage and transform GEMS to prioritize the health of public servants over and above the maximization of profits.

5. Participation of SADTU members as officials for the IEC

The NEC noted that the opposition alliance is once again speaking out against the participation of SADTU members in the IEC appointed elections teams.

The NEC resolved that the Union should speak out strongly against this campaign by the opposition alliance. SADTU members, just like any other citizen, have every right to participate in IEC activities if duly appointed to do so.

As SADTU, we encourage our members who are teachers and education workers, in their own right as citizens, to participate in IEC activities for the 2016 local government elections if duly appointed.

We will legally challenge any discrimination of teachers based on Union affiliation which is not a criteria for appointment to serve the country as an IEC official.

There are teachers from other teacher unions who also officiate during elections but only SADTU members are targeted. What makes SADTU members different from other teachers who are also aligned to political parties who officiate during elections?

6. Mobilisation for 2016 Local Government Elections

As an affiliate of COSATU which is a member of the Alliance, SADTU will continue to support the ANC in the local government elections.

SADTU through COSATU will ensure that our municipalities are efficient in providing services to our different communities.Our structures must engage councillors on service deliverables. However, our support for the ANC must not be viewed as a blank cheque but as a call for the implementation of the manifesto and accountability by the ANC. We still have the responsibility through and with the SACP to look into the reconfiguration of the alliance such that it is insulated from political vultures that want to hijack it for self-enrichment purposes and comes up with policies that will benefit the poor.

The NEC further resolved that all structures of SADTU should engage in educating learners about the history of our country as part of the preparations towards the 2016 local government elections. This will also assist to save our learners from confusion caused by some mis-directed populists on our icon, our freedom fighter, the father of our nation, Tata Mandela. Mandela does not need anyone to speak for him. His revolutionary deeds speak for him. No one will ever distort or erase his legacy.

7. Post provisioning norms for 2016

The NEC noted that the post provisioning norms for 2016 have, in most provinces, created fewer teaching posts.

The NEC therefore resolved to kick-start a vigorous campaign on post-provisioning at the beginning of the 2016 school calendar year aimed at ensuring that learners have enough teachers. Teachers are tired of teaching mass meetings.

8. The posts-for-cash scandal

The NEC noted that the task team that was meant to investigate the selling of posts in schools has now completed its work and is ready to submit it to the Minister of Basic Education. However, even before its official release, the report has already been leaked and it directs some allegations towards certain members of SADTU.

The media has been propagating a misleading narrative that seeks to suggest that SADTU as an organisation was being investigated for selling posts, this is despite the Union publicly speaking strongly against the selling of posts and calling for criminal charges where possible and disassociating the union from such activities.

The Union reiterates its stance that it distances itself from the individuals who are implicated in this scandal. The union will take decisive steps against members who are found guilty of selling posts under it`s name. SADTU will further communicate to all our structures and mobilise them to stand against the selling of posts and expose those who do so especially using our name.

9. Cultural Revolution through the teaching of African languages.

Language and culture are a vital part of social cohesion and development. An inclusive education system that recognizes and empowers all languages performs better in achieving its learning outcomes.

The NEC resolved that tertiary institutions should rapidly move towards the use African Languages as a language of learning/ instruction and Government should lead in providing financial and other material resources towards the development of African languages and ensure their status is enhanced in these institutions.

The NEC took a decision that it will partner with the universities that have shown commitment to the development of the African languages and convene a summit to be attended by the academia and historians to craft strategies that will ensure there is investment in the development of the African Languages.

10. Housing allowance

The NEC expressed anger at the new and dangerous tendency by the employer of refusing to implement collective agreements. Public servants are still waiting to receive their housing allowances as per the resolution signed in May 2015. This is tantamount to undermining collective bargaining and is fertile ground for anarchy. We call on government to pay this housing allowance to all public servant as a matter of urgency.

11. Collective bargaining

The NEC urged the national office bearers to prioritize the conditions of work of AET and ECD practitioners. All outstanding issues including the 0,5% disparity should be finalized as a matter of urgency.

12. Pay Progression in the Eastern Cape

The NEC called on the Eastern Cape Department of Education to pay all teachers their pay progression before the end of this year.

13. Progress on the launching of SADTU structures in the Eastern Cape.

The NEC celebrated the work done toward stabilizing and uniting the Eastern Cape. Many branches have been launched with only a few remaining. The remaining branches will be launched up to the end of February 2016.

14. The removal of Finance Minister Nene

We have learnt with shock, the news of the removal of Finance Minister Nhlanhla Nene.

However, we respect the prerogative of the President. We hope this is done in the interest of the country. In the 21 years of the new democracy, Mr. Nene became the first African to lead this portfolio and unfortunately, served the shortest term of 18 months.

We wish the new incumbent Mr David Van Rooyen, all the success in his new portfolio.

15. Conclusion

The NEC declared 2016 as the year of the member. Our priority will be to effectively service SADTU members

We wish all teachers a happy festive season. May they spend quality time with their families. We thank them for educating the nation.