SADTU holds its first ordinary National Executive Committee meeting in 2018

26 February 2018

South Africa's largest teacher and education workers' union, the South African Democratic Teachers Union (SADTU) held its first ordinary National Executive Committee meeting in 2018 at its headquarters in Kempton Park on Friday, 23 February, 2018.

The NEC noted that 2018 marks the centenary of fallen struggle hero, Nelson Mandela, who through his sacrifices and those of his generation are the main reason that the country enjoys the fruit of democracy.

The NEC committed to see the union continue to implement decisions in line with its Vision 2030 with the key priority being the servicing of members.

The NEC reviewed and took decisions on several issues in the education, labour and political spheres.

On Education:

  • The NEC reflected on the 2017 matric results and noted the improvements in the results and the increase in quality passes in poorly resourced no-fee paying schools. It com-mended members for sacrificing their holidays and weekends preparing learners and the results speak for themselves.
  • The NEC noted the rapid increase of privately owned schools such as Curro Schools across the country. In Gauteng, Free State and KwaZulu-Natal, the shortage of public schools and the low allocation in the budget for infrastructure and learning materials are creating a conducive environment for private, illegal and unregistered schools to thrive. SADTU remains opposed to the privatisation of education. It is not a commodity but a public good. The NEC then resolved that the Union should intensify its anti-privatisation of education campaigns at all levels of the Union.
  • The NEC congratulated SADTU members who received awards at the 2018 National Teaching Awards organised by the Department of Basic Education to showcase and award teachers for their commitment, passion and innovation in the teaching profes-sion. The winners have done the Union proud and are the clearest indication that SADTU is part of the solution and not the problem as the DA would like the country to believe.
  • Noting the increase in reports of teachers engaging in sexual relations with learners, with the latest being the former Reiger Park Secondary School Principal who was caught on a video engaging sexually with learners, the NEC again condemned this conduct and called for criminal charges to be instituted against such teachers and for the South Afri-ca Council for Educators (SACE) to ensure that they are permanently removed from the teaching profession.
  • Further, the NEC resolved that the Union should simplify and disseminate, as wide as possible, the code of conduct to members which clearly states the union's position on teachers having sexual relations with learners. The NEC further resolved that provinces should convene principals' seminars to explore various issues that affect the school en-vironment and organize Men's Forums to engage specifically on issues around sexual abuse of learners.
  • The NEC endorsed the decision to co-host the global teacher union federation - Educa-tion International (EI)'s School Leadership Conference with teacher unions SAOU and NAPTOSA, to be held in Benoni from 24 to 26 April, 2018.

On Labour:

  • The NEC reiterated its position on the provocative posture by the Department of Higher Education on the demands submitted on the 17th September 2017 during a national march to its headquarters. The TVET and AET workers have no conditions of employ-ment and the DHET has since 2009 snubbed SADTU despite requests for meetings being made. The NEC resolved that an industrial action, in line with the programme of action adopted in the special NEC, be embarked upon. "Enough is enough with this depart-ment of higher education," the NEC resolved.
  • The NEC further reaffirmed its position that the wage negotiations which began last year, be speeded up. It made it clear that the Union would reject any negative increases and would not hesitate to ballot members should the Treasury effect its threat that public servants' wages be frozen. The NEC said the wage bill was not the cause of financial problems in our country because the public service has not grown. In fact, it has been declining over the years. The NEC reaffirmed the position of Labour on all the demands including the retrospective payment of the 0,5%.
  • The NEC endorsed the de-linking of the housing allowance for spouses working for gov-ernment. This is what SADTU has been fighting for all the years because the govern-ment employs a worker as defined in the Labour Relations Act. Treating other employ-ees as if they were employed as spouses was violating the dignity of these workers.
  • The NEC resolved to fight for the payment of temporary teachers on time and would not allow these workers to be treated as beggars. The fight will also be directed at the continued exploitation of the Grade R practitioners.
  • The NEC welcomes the attempts by the Basic Education minister to promote dialogue and a healthy working relationship with the Unions in the sector. This is to allow the partners in education to promote Labour peace when consultation is genuine and pur-poseful. The processes of consultation it is what is required in education to avoid dis-ruptions in the sector.
  • The NEC welcomed the work of the Education Labour Relations Council's (ELRC) task team on the professionalisation of the Early Childhood Development (ECD) sub sector.

On Political:

  • The NEC commended the ANC for its 54th Congress which saw the elections of Cyril Ramaphosa as President. The NEC believes that through this victory the cancer of cor-ruption that was running at a fast pace, was slowed down. The NEC called on the law en-forcement institutions to expedite their investigations and follow through with prosecu-tion on cases where there is overwhelming evidence available.
  • The NEC further recognised the 54th Conference as the platform on which we could build the unity of the ANC and the Alliance. It welcomed the public letter by the Former President Jacob Zuma's family members indicating that the family and the President would always be loyal members of the ANC and that they would work towards a decisive ANC victory in the next general elections. "This is encouraging and it shows that our movement still has the capacity to unite and be the real leader in society," the NEC not-ed.
  • The NEC welcomed the State of the Nation Address by President Ramaphosa which among others, placed job creation, especially for the youth, at the centre of the coun-try's national agenda for 2018. It welcomed the call by the President to all of us to SERVE.
  • The NEC noted the new mood and positive energy in government and country but cau-tioned on a long term honeymoon that could lead to complacency and the emergency of another cult of personality with no tangible progress towards achieving the objectives of the NDR. The NEC posit that the NDR seeks to ameliorate the lives of the people of South Africa, focusing on the poor and the working class. SADTU remains principled in supporting the ANC.
  • The NEC reflected on the upcoming COSATU Central Committee (CEC) which will sit for the first time this year from Monday, 26 to 28 February 2018. It called on the CEC to re-flect on a number of issues but chief among these would be for the CEC to develop a clear position on the SACP resolution on state power.
  • Citing the recent changes in the Eskom board, which has seen a board with no repre-sentative from labour movements, the NEC resolved it would call on the CEC to exert its influence in defense of public entities, by ensuring that there is labour representation in these boards. This is to make sure that the entities are not captured by capitalist forces.

Socio - economic:

  • The NEC expressed anger at the increase of the VAT from 14% to 15% as announced by Finance Minister during his budget speech. We are of the firm view that the poor and our constituency, the middle class will be the most affected by this increase. The Zero rated items will be taxed through other forms such as the increase of the fuel levy.
  • We call on government to be courageous and start to destroy the current economic structure, the first step would be to increase corporate tax. Now is the time to realise the clause of the Freedom Charter that speaks to sharing of the wealth of our country instead of punishing the poor while the rich and their wealth remain protected.

From the month of February until July, SADTU will be holding branch and regional triennial gen-eral meetings. The NEC called on all Union structures to go back to basics and focus on site vis-its and better service to all our members.

ISSUED BY: SADTU Secretariat

CONTACT: General Secretary, Mugwena Maluleke; 082 783 2968
Deputy General Secretary, Nkosana Dolopi; 082 709 5651
Nomusa Cembi, Media Officer; 082 719 5157