SADTU flags fly at half mast in mourning the passing on of its stalwarts and founder member Cde Poobie Naicker. Cde Naicker died at the age of 87 on Tuesday in Johannesburg while attending to the Unions business.
Comrade Naicker became the first Deputy President of SADTU when the Union was officially launched on the 6th of October 1990 in Shareworld, Johannesburg.
Before SADTUs formation, Cde Naicker was President of the Teachers Association of South Africa (TASA) - the biggest Indian teachers union. TASA played a vital role towards SADTUs formation. Even though TASA was dominated by Indian teachers, it was ahead of its time as it stood for non-racialism. Its constitution stipulated that it was open to everybody. However, it could not practice that due to the apartheid system in the country at the time.
When talks about the formation of a non-racial teacher union in South Africa began, leading to the Harare Declaration in Zimbabwe in 1988 and many meetings thereafter, TASA was fully engaged. TASA was among the first teacher formations that agreed to the unity of teachers and the formation of SADTU. It brought to SADTU its membership, assets, shares, secretariat support services and a 15-storey building in Durban that laid the foundation for the Union.
It was through the visionary leadership of people like Naicker that such a strong association could take a leap of faith and be part of the founding of SADTU.
Cde Naicker had a passion for communities and believed in a truly non-racial South Africa which made him to fully embrace the idea of a united, non-racial, non-sexist teacher union which led to the formation of SADTU.
A teacher at heart, Cde Naicker retired from teaching after serving the profession for 45 years at both primary and secondary levels. He retired as principal of Willowpark Primary School in Mhlathuzana, Chartworth. Born in a farm in Umzinto, South coast of KwaZulu/Natal, Naicker started schooling at the age of 10 and had to walk for 20 kilometers to school. When he completed his primary school, he refused to go to high school because he wanted to work and support his family. He was persuaded to go back and he eventually relented.
Although he never received formal training at a training college, he worked in a sugar mill while studying part time and received his teaching qualifications. As a teacher, he continued studying part time through the University of Natal and received his BA and B Ed degrees.
An organizer and a person who loved to work with people Cde Naicker became the founding member of the Natal Indian Teachers Society and was chairperson of the Umzinto branch. This Society evolved into the Teachers Association of South Africa of which he became its president.
Although formally retired, Comrade Naicker continued to serve the Union until his last day. Comrade Poobie was an honorary member of SADTU and a trustee of SADTUS Investment Trust.
Cde Naicker is survived by his wife Neela, two children son Arul, daughter Logie and four granddaughters Kerusha, Leevania, Dianka and Yeshinee.
May his soul rest in peace.
N.B. The funeral arrangements are as follows:
Date: Thursday, 3 April 2014
Time: 10:00 15:00
Venue: MTSS Hall. No: 28 Durdwan Road, Merebank
KwaZulu Natal South Coast
ISSUED BY: SADTU Secretariat