SADTU Post 9th National Congress Statement

1 October 2019

SADTU commits to fight for the protection and respect  for the dignity of education workers and learners

Members of the South African Democratic Teachers’ Union (SADTU) - the largest union in the public service sector have shown confidence in their leadership; they re-elected the National Office Bearers back into office.

This took place at the Union’s elective 9th National Congress convened from 25 to 28 September, 2019 at NASREC Expo Centre in Johannesburg. The Congress, attended by 1 500 delegates saw the re-election of President Magope Maphila, Deputy President Lucky Mabutho Cele, General Secretary Mugwena Maluleke, Deputy Secretary Nkosana Dolopi, National Treasurer Lindiwe Motshwane and Vice President for Gender – Dorcus Sekabate.

Cde Faseega Solomon was elected as Vice President for Education while Cde Nolitha Mboniswa was elected as Vice President for Sports, Arts and Culture.

The Congress committed all members to fight for the protection and respect for the dignity of all education workers and learners. The union shall campaign against gender based violence and sexual harassment in the workplace.

 All members of SADTU are expected to be on duty, on task and professional. The union is determined to end sexual relationships between teachers and learners as this puts the profession into disrepute and undermines the revolutionary character of a SADTU teacher.

The President of the Republic of South Africa, Cyril Ramaphosa, Basic Education Minister Angie Motshekga, Higher Education and Training Minister Dr Blade Nzimande; SACP 1st Deputy Secretary Solly Mapaila and COSATU General Secretary Bheki Ntshalintshali are some of the many speakers who addressed the Congress.

Leaders of teacher unions from America, Senegal and Palestine delivered their unions’ messages of support to the Congress.

Eight out of the nine Provincial Heads of Departments of Basic Education led by the Director General of Basic Education, Matanzima Mweli were also in attendance.  

 In line with the 9th National Congress  theme, Claiming our right to have our human dignity and safety protected and respected in pursuit of a decolonised quality public education, the Congress resolved as follows.

  • To engage the employer to provide basic infrastructure which include safe learning environments, manageable class sizes, learning materials, teacher development and support. Failing which, the Union shall adopt a zero tolerance approach and explore all avenues available to ensure that the Department meets its undertakings.
  • Reject the stipend paid to qualified Grade R practitioners which differs per province because it undermines the dignity of the practitioners and is not in line with ILO principles on equal pay for similar work
  • Engage with the employer to ensure that all education workers, including temporary educators and those in vulnerable sectors are paid on time. Failing which, the Union shall explore all avenues available to ensure that the Department meets its payment obligations on time. Late and non-payment of salaries was undermining workers’ dignity.
  • SADTU shall continue with its programmes to push for the decolonization of the education system and radical transformation of the curriculum in order to restore the dignity of the African working class.
  • To intensify the campaign against the privatisation, commercialisation, commodification of and in education in order to protect the basic education value chain against edu-preneurs and capitalist private hands who want to make profit out of education.
  • To have the Union’s constitution written in Braille in order to accommodate members who are visually impaired.

Safety in Schools

  • The Congress reiterated the Union’s call on government to ensure that all schools are provided with adequate security personnel to maintain safety and further resolved to mobilise communities through the “I am a school fan” campaign to ensure safety in schools.

As part of the campaign, all SADTU branches shall convene community based multi-stakeholder engagement forums to look into issues related to school safety within the communities to form local community engagement forums. The local community engagement forums should be convened within the first academic quarter of 2020. The Union shall lobby the State President to adopt the “I am a school fan” campaign and to view violence in schools as a national crisis.

On Education:

  • The General Education Certificate (GEC): SADTU accepts the GEC but efforts should be made to ensure that the Certificate is not interpreted as an exit certificate but rather a pathway to Further Education and Training.SADTU shall participate fully in the conceptualization of the GCE including shaping forms of assessment to be utilized in the process of determining the certification.
  • Fourth Industrial Revolution: Congress committed that SADTU should take the lead in empowering educators on Fourth Industrial Revolution. The Union shall campaign for SETA budgets to cater for the skilling and re-skilling of education workers and demand a clear strategy and plan from the Department of Basic Education on its plans to roll-out Fourth Industrial Revolution
  • Assessment for Learning: Noting that currently the education system focusses on performance assessment and does not make provision for assessment for learning that can potentially change the ability of learners and contribute to better performance, SADTU shall play a leading role in engaging and advocating for Assessment for Learning practices and convene a Lekgotla on Assessment for Learning.
  • Professional Learning Communities: SADTU shall advocate for the promotion and implementation of Professional Learning Communities; embark upon capacity building workshops for teachers to equip them with the requisite skills to understand their roles in the establishment of PLCs.
  • Community Education and Training (CET) Colleges educators: SADTU committed to ensure that qualified CET educators are employed permanently with full benefits. Currently, CET educators do not enjoy the service benefits like other professionals in the sector

Education and Pan-Africanism

SADTU shall lead the fight to transform the education system and particularly the curriculum of the African continent to be driven by the developmental needs of the continent. The Union commits to promote the use of African languages such as Swahili and others in order to unite and promote inter and intra-community trade, development and common exchanges.

On organisational matters:

One-sector-one-union policy

  • All workers in the education sector be designated under one sectoral Bargaining Council, i.e the Education Labour Relations Council (ELRC) in order to enhance service delivery and be consistent with the current arrangements as far as the designation of Sectors within the Public Service.

On political matters:

  • Parliament should establish or formulate a bill to address the issue of having all elections in all three tiers of government (national, provincial and local) in order to ensure that government works effectively and efficiently. The 2021 elections be postponed to 2024 for reconfiguration purposes of the three tier system
  • On South African Communist Party (SACP) contesting for state power: SADTU commits to build, strengthen and defend the SACP by launching recruitment drives at site level and institutionalize political education at all levels of SADTU more especially in regions and branches.

On International solidarity:

  • SADTU shall through COSATU, call for the African Union and United Nation to act decisively against Morocco in affirming the right of the Saharawi people to self-determination.
  • Promote open and sustained debates on campaigns on Israel, solidarity with Palestine, Cuba, Venezuela, Western Sahara and other parts of the world struggling against imperialism and for democratic self-rule.

ISSUED BY: SADTU Secretariat


General Secretary, Mugwena Maluleke: 082 783 2968

Deputy General Secretary, Nkosana Dolopi: 082 709 5651

Media Officer, Nomusa Cembi: 082 719 5157