SADTU Limpopo Province takes strong exception and umbrage to the report that appeared in Sowetan Newspaper of Friday, 28th March 2014. The report has gone to show the lowest levels to which the MEC of Education Dikeledi Magadzi would stoop to try and tarnish the image of SADTU in the province. It is a clear confirmation of the widely held view by our members that she is not a fit and proper person to be given the responsibility of running education in the province.

We wish to refute in the strongest possible terms the allegation that SADTU has provided a list of preferred candidates for circuit managers’ posts in the province. All correspondence between the union and the department are handled by the secretariat. To the best of our knowledge the provincial office of SADTU has never handed any list to the MEC’s office regarding names of people to be appointed as circuit managers.

The provincial office is not an employment agency that trade on recruiting suitable people for posts. That the SADTU march was used as a proxy to force the hand of the MEC to appoint certain people to circuit manager’s position is the height of all folly. It is even quite ludicrous to suggest that members of SADTU can be mobilized around such an inane issue of appointment of circuit managers. We regard that as a cheap and stupid attempt by her office to try and deflect attention from the real issues raised in our memorandum. The issue of appointment of the circuit manager does not even feature on the memorandum of SADTU demands.

The Sowetan’s coverage of the march was a total distortion of facts as it gave the impression that the march was about appointments. It didn’t mention the contents of the memorandum which had demands ranging from payments of outstanding tariffs for EAT educators, shortage of textbooks, temporary teachers amongst others. How could thousands of members forsake their day at school and embark on a march for appointments? We plead with the media not to undermine the intelligence of our members.

The provincial office will confer with the chairperson to try and find out the circumstances under which he is alleged to have handed a list to the MEC.  For now, it appears to us to be a classic example of a politician who uses divide and rule tactics in order to buy SADTU’s silence on critical issues affecting education in the province.

We are saying so mindful of the things she is doing in the department. Recently, a person was appointed by her office without advertising the post. When this unprofessional conduct was raised, the post was hastily advertised ex-post facto. Her very immediate preoccupation when she came to the department was to purge people from the supply chain management department and replaced them with her goons. It is any one’s guess as to what her intentions are with that move. We are not surprised when she goes around trying to find union leaders she can corrupt in order to try and silence the union. We know of other incidents where disgruntled former leaders of the union are being caucused in night meetings to wage a revolt against current leaders of the union.

The current theatrics by the MEC is a continuation of the statements she has uttered in one meeting where she told her audience that people should not worry about unions (SADTU) that were dying ala Marikana type. Lastly, we wish to send a loud message to her that we will remain steadfast and resolute in pursuing the union demands. We will come after her office with much vigour and strength. We are not cheap and we will never be bought!

Compiled by Limpopo Provincial Secretariat