South Africa’s biggest education union SADTU celebrates its 23rd birthday today. The Union was born on the sixth of October 1990 in at Nasrec in Johannesburg at a function addressed by former State President Nelson Mandela.

Today, the Union celebrates its growth and achievements. From a union which started with close to 30 000 membership, today SADTU has grown to 260 000 members making it the biggest teacher union which now no longer focus on working amongst teachers only but everyone who works in the education arena.

The union has successfully fought for rights such as the right to collective bargaining, four months maternity leave for teachers and pay parity. The union has not only fought for rights as workers but for quality education as well. The union has spent huge sums on money to train its members. We have recently trained about 420 principals in School Management and Training (SMT) in order to better equip them to better manage and lead their schools.

One of the milestones of the Union is the establishment of the Curtis Nkondo Teacher Development Institute officially launched earlier this year to provide courses to uplift teachers.

The Union has over the 23 years tirelessly fought for better salaries for teachers and has in most circumstances, fought successfully so.

SADTU has also produced some of the finest in the country. Most of our former leaders groomed by SADTU hold powerful positions in the political arena and in powerful government positions.

We know the union’s growth, has irked the opposition parties who have accused us of spending more time on the streets fighting instead of being in class. This is not entirely true.  When we fight, we do all our best to reclaim the time by holding catch-up programme.

Our mission is to create an education system that consolidates a developmental state agenda.

Ours is to see the child of the African working class getting quality and well-resourced education. We realize the importance of education in getting rid of poverty that`s why we will do our best to ensure the working class child is educated.

We wish the Union another successful growth and to live to see the next 23 years and more.

ISSUED BY: SADTU Secretariat