15 November 2023
The South African Democratic Teachers’ Union (SADTU) has noted with serious concern the statements made by the EFF regarding the participation of SADTU members as election officers.
First, it is clear that EFF is still grappling with understanding the fundamentals of our constitutional democracy and the electoral laws and procedures of South Africa. The statements made by the EFF demonstrate an aggravated level of ignorance of the rights and responsibilities of South Africans in supporting constitutional democracy. This however comes as no surprise judging by the recent wholesale expulsion of its members for allegedly failing to organize buses to their celebration. Only an organization which has no regard for rights can act in that manner.
Second, the EFF appears unable to distinguish between a trade union and a political party. Neither COSATU nor SADTU are political parties. The law only prohibits persons who hold senior positions in political parties from being appointed as election officials. If a party which purports to champion the cause of the working class is so ignorant and anti worker, one must wonder what the implications will be should this party secure a majority vote. It is clear that the rights of workers will be trampled upon in the same or worse ways as members of this political party whose rights are at the whim of the party leader.
Members of trade unions including SADTU have a right in law to be appointed as election officers if they meet the requirements. SADTU encourages members of every trade union to avail themselves to serve their nation as election officers and to ensure a free and fair election.
The statements of the EFF directed at SADTU members and by extension members of trade unions who participate as election officers border on hate speech, unfair discrimination and an incitement to harm such persons. The statements are also calculated to frustrate the efforts of the IEC to conduct a free and fair election as has been the case since the dawn of democracy. The desperation of the EFF which hardly enjoys popularity amongst South Africans represents the lowest point since the dawn of democracy.
SADTU condemns in the strongest terms the statements and threats contained in the EFF Statements. SADTU calls upon the EFF to withdraw their allegations and apologise. SADTU will not hesitate to take appropriate action to protect its members against this otherwise unlawful and intimidatory conduct.
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