The South African Democratic Teachers’ Union in Mpumalanga has noted recent utterances by Panyaza Lesufi, spokesperson of the Department of Basic Education in his ill advised efforts to discredit the SADTU campaign to defend collective bargaining.

The spokesperson of the Department of Basic Education, in an interview on Motsweding FM on the 14 April 2013, alleged that SADTU had embarked on its Defend Collective Bargaining Campaign because there is infighting within SADTU and that it is divided, an allegation that is so absurd that we wonder what Lesufi is drinking.

We have noted that the spokesperson of the Department is fond of making outlandish claims and allegations and concocting weird theories in the face of a popular campaign by SADTU to hold the Minister and DG of the Department accountable for the erosion of collective bargaining in the education sector.

This allegation cannot remain unchallenged.

The truth is that the union, just like similar large organisations, has its own internal non-antagonistic contradictions.

Decisions and resolutions of executive structures are arrived at after robust debates and after the decisions have been arrived at leaders and members rally behind the decisions irrespective of their initial position. This cannot constitute infighting or divisions.

On the strength of what does he make this bizarre allegation? We challenge him to prove what may be wishful thinking.

Some callers to radio talk shows where he is representing the Department have described him as dishonest, untruthful, insincere, misrepresenting facts and of being mendacious. These annotations by callers should hold water as he will not be able to produce the proof.

We wish to advice the spokesperson of the Department that he has become a useful mobilising tool for the union as his statements encourage leaders and members of the union to see the campaign through.

The attempt to construct an image of a union at war with itself to distract us from real issues cannot succeed.