SADTU shocked by the Limpopo Education Department`s Unilateral Termination of the Teacher Incentive (Rural Allowance)

24 January 2013

SADTU Limpopo Province is shocked and dismayed by the decision of the Limpopo Department of Education to unilaterally terminate rural allowance to educators with effect from January 2013.

This incentive for teachers came about as a result of the decision of the then Minister of Education Ms Naledi Pandor and was publicized in the government Gazette No 30678 on the 18th January 2008. The incentive was meant to attract and retain educators in far-flung, deeply rural, no fee and remote schools. Other schools considered were so-called hard-to-teach schools situated in difficult urban zones and schools that were experiencing a chronic shortage of educators in certain subjects like Mathematics, Sciences and ICT.

Right from the outset SADTU expressed its dissatisfaction about the problematic manner in which the schools/posts were selected and warned that if that was not attended to; the whole process would be highly unsustainable.

Currently there are about 7000 posts out of a total workforce of 56 540 that were incentivized. However, these educators woke up on the 22nd of January 2013 to find their salaries reduced. This after the department issued a circular in December 2012 notifying educators about its intentions. This decision flies in the face of the discussions that were already taking place at both the provincial and national Education Labour Relations Council (ELRC). We consider this a flagrant violation of labour rights of educators who are largely our members. As SADTU, we view this action in a serious light and we feel it is a clear provocation of our members. We will not take this lying down. In all respects, this provocative stance is a clear and unambiguous declaration of war. It is akin to the mafia style adopted by the department when in 2011/2012 academic year schools were robbed of their norms and standards monies in order to augment for whatever financial challenges the department was experiencing. We wish to inform the department that targeting educators’ salaries/allowances is a bad strategy that will be met with a concomitant action of monumental scale.

Our union will in the next two weeks or so, mobilize its 45 000 members and other progressive forces from across the length and breadth of Limpopo to embark upon a mother of all actions to express our anger and disgust at the Department’s action.

We will engage in picketing and protest marches. If the Department does not come to the party and reverse their action, a total shutdown will follow. We call upon all our members to be combat-ready in anticipation of the clarion call we will issue in due course - a call to defend our hard won victories. It is clear that the discredited Bobby Soobrayan is on a destruction campaign against education and is failing to implement the administration role assigned to the national department by cabinet. The minister must fire this incompetent and arrogant collective bargaining destroyer or face the wrath of SADTU herself.

Our action will not be confined to this issue only but other equally contentious issues that have a potential to plunge our education system into a permanent crisis. We will echo our revolutionary slogan nothing about us without us! Thou shall consult SADTU!

Long Live SADTU!

ISSUED BY: Limpopo Provincial Secretariat