Comrade Magope Maphila is a founder member of SADTU from SEPTU-NEUSA in Sekhukhuneland, Limpopo. He has served SADTU as a site steward, branch education convener, branch and regional secretary, regional deputy chairperson and provincial chairperson.
Cde Maphila was elected Deputy President of SADTU during the 2009 National General Council (NGC) and again during the 7th National Congress in 2010. During the 8th National Congress in October 2014, Cde Maphila was elected President of SADTU and again at the 9th National Congress held in September 2019.
His priorities as president include contributing to political education programmes, working to create unity of purpose in and among structures, and helping to build a second layer of leadership within the collective mandate.
As we traverse 2023, one can sum up the past year (20222) as the year of new mandates as our Tripartite Alliance members ANC, SACP and our Federation COSATU held crucial elective conferences which gave the elected leaders new mandates to lead these respective organisations.
Over and above these, the ANC held its policy conference where it tried to redefine and craft policies on how the movement must react to challenges facing the country like joblessness with the majority of the youth unemployed.
Our beloved union, the South African Democratic Teachers’ Union (SADTU) convened Provincial Quadrennial Conferences, Regional Triennial General Meetings as well as Branch Triennial General Meetings. These took place with hardly any glitches. If there were any, these were negligible.
The smooth running of these critical meetings showed high levels of organisational discipline. Democratic centralism was the order of the day. We cannot ignore the fact that these crucial events took place under a cloud of the non-payment of what was due to public servants and members as the employer failed to honour the last leg of PSBC Collective Agreement 1 of 2018 which was to give salary increases in 2020. Instead, public servants have for the past two years, received paltry below CPI increases in the face of interest rates and fuel hikes. Members are battling the aftereffects of two years of debilitating COVID 19 pandemic which took the lives of many education workers and regressed education gains to 2015. As if this was not enough, the conflict between Ukraine and Russia inflicted hardships even to us South Africans as we saw fuel, energy, and food prices as well as interest rates hikes.
One question in the minds of most members is, where is our Union in these trying times? The voices questioning our Alliance with the ruling movement through our Federation COSATU keep rising. SADTU has, since its inception in 1990, been at the coal face of the struggles of education workers. We have fought and won many battles related to conditions of service and have fought for the right of the child of the working class to access quality public education. We continue to fight.
One of the rights we fought hard for and won, as labour, was the right to collective bargaining. It should come as no surprise that the employer has undermined collective bargaining because it is not benefiting them but workers. We will not give up the fight to ensure collective bargaining is respected. The struggle continues.
Being part of the Alliance shows our commitment to taking the workers struggle beyond salaries and conditions of service but engage in a class struggle. The year 1994 ushered in a new South Africa. However, we have not yet fully attained economic emancipation. The means of production are still in the hands of the few. Owners of capital are interested in making profits and not uplifting the livelihoods of workers. The latest example of Capital’s greed is the abandoned mines in the West Rand which have become a cesspool for criminals who mine illegally and terrorise surrounding communities.
Members have every right to question our standing as an organisation. Even though the socio-economic conditions of the majority South Africans are dire, we are convinced that the movement still offers us the only pragmatic opportunity to achieve our historical objectives with the National Democratic Revolution being a necessary phase. We implore on the new leadership of the Alliance to remain true to the mandates given by members and change the lives of people for the better.
We call on the ANC to act on the recommendations of the final report of the Zondo Commission into State Capture so that both the country and the movement can move forward.
As we navigate 2023, we shall strengthen political education so that members gain a deeper understanding of the role of the Union in the National Democratic Revolution.
SADTU commits to continue to serve members led and guided by the Union’s 2030 Vision. Underpinning the Vision are five pillars: Servicing Union members; Creating a Learning Nation; Creating a Development Oriented Nation State; Creating International Partnerships, and Building Delivery Based Organisational Capacity.
SADTU LIVES! SADTU LEADS!
Lucky Goodman Mabutho Cele became a member of SADTU in 1994 when he began his teaching career at Sisebenzile Secondary School. In 2003, Cde Cele was elected Education Convener and Branch secretary for the uMlingo branch then, now named Victoria Mxenge in the Durban South Region, KwaZulu-Natal. In 2005, he became the Deputy Chairperson of the Durban South Region and two years later, the regional secretary.
In 2009, Cde Cele was elected regional chairperson of Durban South Region. In 2011, he was elected KwaZulu-Natal’s Provincial Chairperson. During the 8th National Congress in 2014, Cde Cele was elected Deputy President and was re-elected during the 9th National Congress in 2019. He is the former District Secretary of the SACP in Durban South District and currently a DEC member of the same District. He is former Ward 82 BEC member of the ANC branch and still a member, in Ethekwini Region. He is currently employed as Principal of Montclair Senior Primary School in KZN. Cde Cele is former chairperson of the South African Council for Educators (SACE). He is President of Africa Federation Teacher Regulatory Authority (AFTRA).
During the Education International (EI) World Congress held in 2019 in Thailand, Cde Cele was elected convener of the Commonwealth Teachers Group (CTG). As SADTU Deputy President, Cde Cele’s priorities include working on cadreship development with an emphasis on unionism in order for the Union to achieve the 2030 Vision buttressed by ideological unity and cohesion; fight injustices in education brought by privatization, commodification and marketization of education locally and internationally.
Comrade Mugwena Maluleke was first elected as the General Secretary of SADTU during the 2009 National General Council. He was re-elected during the 7th, 8th and 9th National Congresses. He has passionately and compassionately served the Union for more than 24 years in various positions – from branch to national levels. In July this year, Cde Maluleke was re-elected as Vice-President for the Africa Region of Education International (EI), a global federation of about 400 unions in more than 171 countries and territories, representing 32 million teachers and education employees. He is the Convener of COSATU Public Sector Unions Joint Mandate Committee (JMC). He has served with dedication and determination as a member of the steering committee of the Commonwealth Teachers’ Group; is a council member of the Vaal University of Technology and the Human Resource Development Council of South Africa. He currently serves the public servants as an alternate trustee of the Government Employee Pension Fund (GEPF) board and non-executive director of the interim board of the Public Investment Corporation (PIC).
Cde Maluleke insists that the challenges facing education in the country are systemic and the solution lies in the investment in Early Childhood Education and Technical Vocational Education and Training (TVET) sector where the recruitment of lecturers must be accompanied by professional development to achieve quality outcomes. Cde Maluleke firmly believes that education is a public good and should therefore not be privatized or commercialized. Cde Maluleke is committed to fight against union bashing and attacks on teachers. This can be done by investing time and effort in collective bargaining and improving teacher competencies by creating a balance between pedagogy and subject knowledge.
As the Union continues to transform the education system, he has committed himself to working tirelessly towards the changing of the funding model of the South African government if education is to address the triple challenges of poverty, inequality and unemployment. Cde Maluleke has vowed to fight for the infrastructure to address the dignity of every child in our schooling system. He believes that an education system must be inclusive and that the curriculum and learning materials be customized to facilitate the learning of every child. He believes that the current textbooks are used to exclude a sizable number of learners who have various learning challenges because such textbooks are generalized and standardized.
Cde Maluleke’s main commitment is to see the Union grow both qualitatively and quantitatively. This growth can be achieved by implementing Congress Resolutions and focus on the strategic thrusts as captured in the Union’s 2030 Vision. SADTU has a duty to children and their future.
The two and half years of the pandemic have impacted on the lives of our members and their students. We have seen educators, education support personnel and administrators at all levels building the resilience of the education system and more importantly resilience in the professional workforce and the learners. These frontline revolutionary professionals have stepped in and walked with the students to deal with loses in learning times which have led to the skills, knowledge, and attitude deficits. SADTU owes these frontline revolutionary professionals a word of gratitude for their heroic agency and will forever honour those who died in the line of duty for their sacrifices in facing this virus by head-on by going to work daily. They did this because they knew our children were facing a possible generational catastrophe. They knew that no nation could progress and improve the standard of living without quality public education.
The pandemic has exposed the funding model in education as an instrument of advancing inequality and two economies. This funding model must change to address the legacies of apartheid if we are to build an inclusive economy. The dilapidated infrastructure in the working communities is creating a fertile ground for the privatisation of education. The proliferation of private institutions of learning in our country is a threat to stability and growth. Education cannot be sold because it is a public good. Quality infrastructure is not a favour but a necessity in the provision of quality public education. We demand a relief education budget for all the learning institutions in working-class communities.
SADTU members assert that schools are the pulse of communities; they are the fountains where learners gain knowledge, skills, and attitudes which in turn contribute towards the uplifting of communities and society.
Realising the importance of acting and collaborating with every citizen and every community in defense of education, the Union in 2019, launched the “I Am a School Fan” campaign. We have since been joined in this collective action to protect the future of our learners by Brand South Africa (Play Your Part), UNICEF, Old Mutual and NECT.
In the next few years until 2030 we must appreciate the importance of demonstrating the highest levels of skills and sophistication in teaching critical and creative skills to our beautiful children. Both basic and post-schooling sectors cannot escape the challenge of providing solutions where critical and creative thinking skills will play a pivotal role in shaping societies. Solutions to violence in learning institutions and communities requires that we as nation builders impart skills for problem solving. For us to drive our decolonisation of the education system to restore our culture and values, dignity, and justice, we require our teaching techniques and methodologies to be immersed in creative and critical thinking skills. We have learned from the pandemic that our routine of teaching our children can be disrupted at any time. So, to mitigate the risks and threats brought about by any disruption, our children must be able to think for themselves. Our children must appreciate and believe in working with others. Working with others will help them to appreciate each other’s cultures and diversity. With creative and critical thinking skills they will be armed with tools to navigate the changing world that requires individual and collective actions.
Taking responsibility of our own actions whether on climate change, confronting racism, gender-based violence, human trafficking; and many other social ills such substance abuse, etc. requires from our children to transform their ideas into innovative solutions. Where our curriculum requires our learners to inquire, imagine and reflect, our learning institutions must provide them with the opportunities to be creative and critical in innovating and manifesting.
For the five pillars of our 2030 Vision to be achieved, we believe that teachers, education support personnel, office-based educators, the CET and TVET professionals and learners must be united in the battle of decolonising education. To create opportunities for our members and students in this project we require a values-embedded curriculum driven by those who are in education.
The Journal of SADTU is also building the intellectual capacity in our members by engaging them in Academic Forums where we work together to write articles for peer review with the intention of enriching the education process. We are convinced that this will add value in the decolonisation of education project.
The delay in formalising the Grade R conditions of employment is an injustice and an attack on the future of our children. These practitioners are the backbone of our nation and education system. We must confront this injustice with the urgency it deserves because the modern slavery practices by the employer are destroying the resources of our nation, the ECD practitioners.
The Student Chapter is shaping up and our student teachers must be exposed to a variety of institutions both in our country and the globe. SADTU must spend time and resources to empower these students while they are still at universities or colleges so that they can appreciate the importance of caring for our learners.
Collective bargaining must be improved to serve members and improve the working conditions of all the workers and those in the ECD, CET, ESP and TVET sectors who are under-serviced. The DHET has undermined collective bargaining despite them having submitted in court that the department is committed to engage the Unions in the legally constituted Council. To date, we have seen this department gravitating towards the Marikana-type of engagement by forming forums with unrepresentative unions and sidelining the ELRC TVET bargaining Unit with impunity. Entering into agreements with some unions outside the Council is taking workers for granted; it cannot be allowed. We cannot allow the DHET to liquidate SADTU in favour of other unions when SADTU is a majority Union. Trade Unions rights are human rights and DHET must face the might of our Union.
The training of our principals across the sectors is critical in dealing with demoralisation and mental health issues affecting our frontline professionals. The pressure and workloads exacerbated by the pandemic cannot go unchallenged. Our principals must stand with our frontline professionals and learners by exhibiting leadership skills and attitudes that will help create working environments that address stress, anxiety, and overloading. Our institutions’ leadership must ensure that all vacant posts are filled by suitably qualified personnel and that financial resources are deployed in the areas of mental health and psychosocial matters.
The Union will continue with all the curriculum training for teaching and non-teaching staff to empower with digital skills. The use of technologies in our learning institutions must be for support and resourcing. The agency of the workers cannot be substituted by artificial intelligence. The practitioners must drive the transition themselves and not the sellers of technologies.
Let us participate in all the surveys sent to members to help our Union to be driven by what members want. For the Union to communicate with the employer, evidence is required and one of the sources of information is the completion of the surveys. For us to know what killer number one in our learning institutions is we can know if all members tell us what the killer is. Is it workload, violence against the educators in the classrooms or workshops, lack of support from employer or poor salaries, etc?
Let us remain united and rely on our communication and not the media or wedge drivers.
SADTU remains the biggest union in the public service and in education. We call upon all our members to remain organisers and recruit members. They should always frown upon unethical conduct.
As we walk together with all our loyal members into 2023, we thank all of you for being loyal to your Union, SADTU. Your continued support in growing the Union are highly appreciated especially as we must confront the new challenges posed by the pandemic.
Together we can transform education and build a strong and inclusive economy.
Deputy General Secretary
Comrade Nkosana Dolopi joined SADTU in 1995. He rose through the ranks to become Northern Cape Province’s Education Convener and thereafter, provincial secretary. He was first elected as the Deputy General Secretary during the National General Council in 2009. He was re-elected to the position during the 7th National Congress in 2010, the 8th Congress in 2014 and the 9th Congress held in September 2019.
Cde Dolopi is a member of the Siyancuma Branch in the Northern Cape. He has taught at Griquatown Combined School where he was also the Head of Department for Social Sciences. As the Deputy General Secretary, Cde Dolopi’s main priorities include organizational renewal and improving service to members while maintaining SADTU as the only beacon of hope to improve the conditions of service of teachers and education employees.
Comrade Lindiwe Motshwane was elected as National Treasurer during SADTU’s 7th National Congress in 2010. She was again re-elected during the 8th in 2014 and the 9th National Congress in 2019. Cde Motshwane joined SADTU in 1995. She became a site steward at Tinhlonhla Secondary School in Jeppes Reef, Mpumalanga Province where she is the Head of Department for Curriculum Co-ordination.
She rose to become the chairperson of Khulangwane branch, treasurer and deputy chairperson of Lowveld Region, previously called Ehlanzeni and subsequently named Mgababa Mathonsi. Cde Motshwane is former Mpumalanga Gender Convener and Treasurer.
Her priorities as national treasurer are to build capacity on appropriate and effective management and accountability for organizational resources within the Union. She would like to ensure that all structures of the Union are financially accountable and they abide with all the fiscal and governance policies of the Union. Cde Motshwane is also the Treasurer for the Southern African Teachers’ Organisation (SATO).
She is the chairperson of the ETDP SETA Finance Committee, a board member of COSATU’s investment company, Kopano Ke Matla Investment and Chairperson of Kopano Ke Matla Property Company. Cde Motswane is a member of the Mpumalanga Provincial Working Committee of the South African Communist Party (SACP).
Vice President (Education)
Comrade Faseega Solomon has been a member of SADTU since its inception in 1990. Her involvement in the trade union movement began in her student days in the 1987, as a final year student at Hewat College of Education when she joined WECTU (one of the many teacher unions that formed SADTU). Her involvement in WECTU led her to become a delegate at the historic launch of SADTU in Johannesburg in 1990.
Cde Solomon began her teaching career in 1988 at Manenberg High School where she taught Natural Sciences and (Biology) Life Sciences. Cde Solomon participated in a project that provided exemplar video recordings of experiments in Biology for use at schools with no Biology Labs and equipment to do the experiments.
She joined the structures of SADTU at Manenberg High School where she served as Site steward. She was then elected as branch education convener of the Athlone East branch. She served as regional education convener of the Inland Region. During the 2010 Western Cape Provincial General Council (PGC), Cde Solomon was elected as Provincial Education convener for the province and was re-elected during the 2011 and 2016 Provincial Conferences. During her tenure as provincial education convener, Cde Solomon served in many provincial structures in collaboration with the Western Cape Education Department (WCED).
She also served as a member of the Schooling Chamber of the ETDP SETA from 2011 to 2018. She represents SADTU in the Education Labour Relation Council’s Early Childhood and Development (ELRC ECD) work stream. During the 9th National Congress held in September 2019, Cde Solomon was elected as SADTU Vice President (Education). As Vice President for Education, Cde Solomon undertakes and commits to execute SADTU’s decisions and policies in the interest of members and to contribute constructively towards the realisation of the Union’s strategic goals as set out in the 2030 vision.
She will endeavour to provide meaningful and effective guidance to provincial education conveners with the aim of developing informed and prepared teachers nationally. She believes that the SADTU Curtis Nkondo Professional Development Institute (SCNPDI) will continue to play its effective role in building dedicated and intellectually astute leaders in our schools. She has a strong conviction that teachers should grow to become leaders of their craft and will endeavour to encourage teachers to participate in the ongoing development of the curriculum in order to create learners who can compete as global citizens.
She will undertake to facilitate the broadening of the existing framework for national teacher and curriculum development through expanding and strengthening relationships with stakeholders in education that will improve the educational landscape. She is passionate about the union’s contribution to influence and enhance education policies which are underscored by SADTU’s own research. Cde Solomon shall endeavour to constantly promote the constructive involvement of SADTU in creating safer environments for learners and teachers in every school.
Vice President (Gender)
Comrade Dudu Nkosi began her leadership journey in teacher trade unionism in 1989 when she was first elected a school representative at Esikhisini Primary School. She represented her school (site) in the Saulsville branch under the Atteridgeville Teachers’ Union ( SATU) then, which was organized under the auspices of PRETU(Pretoria Teachers’ Union ) bringing together MATU ( Mamelodi , SOTU ( Soshanguve ) until the historic launch of SADTU in 1990 .
She was then elected Branch Secretary at the Annual General Meeting from 1996- 2001. Subsequent to that, Cde Nkosi served as Branch Chairperson for three terms (2002- 2006)
In 2006, she was elected Regional Deputy Secretary at a Regional Bi-Annual Meeting. In 2009 she was bi-elected into the position of Gauteng North Regional Deputy Chairperson.
In 2011, Cde Nkosi was elected Deputy Provincial Secretary at the Provincial Triennial Conference. During her tenure she, among other things, represented members at the Arbitration level and successfully led a Provincial Team in Schedule 8 Consultation meetings. She led a Provincial Recruitment team which saw the membership of Gauteng Province grow quantitatively.
On the 23rd of March 2020, Cde Nkosi was bi-elected to the National Working Committee as Vice -President: Gender.
The membership statistics of SADTU, indicates that women constitute the biggest portion of the total membership and yet they are under-represented in decision-making structures. It therefore becomes prudent that the union endeavours to “maximize participation of women at all levels of the union and the education system as a whole…” as enshrined in the SADTU Constitution.
We should also seek to recognize all genders (men, women , LGBTIQ+ ) as EQUAL partners at all levels of the union including decision-making structures.
We need to end the scourge of gender-based violence, femicide and school related gender-based violence by rigorously campaigning for the speedy implementation of the now ratified ILO Convention 190 by government in order to ensure Workers and Learners’ safety in the World of Work. We can achieve this by working closely with all Alliance partners and other like-minded formations.
Vice President (Sports, Arts and Culture)
Comrade Nolitha Mboniswa started her career as a teacher at Ngwekazi SSS in Peddie in August 1993 and joined SADTU in the same year. She was elected Branch Secretary during the SADTU AGM that year, In 1995, Cde Mboniswa was elected the Central Region’s (now Fezeka Loliwe) Regional Deputy Secretary.
In 1998 she got redeployed to teach at Luthubeni SSS in Mqanduli, Polly Gabada Region where she continued her role as a leader in different structures of the Union. She also served as Mqanduli Branch Secretary for eight consecutive years until 2008.
In the Provincial Conference held in 2008, Cde Mboniswa was elected Provincial Sports, Arts and Culture Convener. During the Provincial Conference in 2011, Cde Mboniswa was elected Deputy Provincial Secretary. After not being elected in the 2014 conference, Cde Mboniswa went back to the Provincial Office in 2015 and represented SADTU members in various cases. In 2017, she was again elected Deputy Provincial Secretary until the National Congress in 2019 when she was elected Vice President for Sports, Arts and Culture. Currently, she is also serving as a member of the ETDP SETA Accounting Authority, as well as a Member of its Audit Committee representing Labour.
Fundamental to the creation of this and other portfolios in the Union, is the existence of programmes and activities designed to assist in recruiting and keeping members in SADTU. This is the ambit in which the portfolio must exist because its programmes unite, re-energise and rejuvenate members.