SADTU condemns racism, tribalism, and regionalism

The National Executive Committee (NEC) of the South African Democratic Teachers’ Union (SADTU) has strongly condemned tribal and regional tendencies that seem to emerge, more especially in KwaZulu Natal, following the Union issuing a statement seeking clarity on a circular issued by the Provincial Department of Education requesting schools in the province to encourage learners and teachers to wear traditional attire on 30 August in honour of His Majesty, King Misuzulu kaZwelithini Zulu.

At the scheduled meeting of the NEC held on Thursday, 01 September at the Premier Hotel in Kempton Park, it rallied behind the Union’s KwaZulu-Natal Secretary, Nomarashiya Caluza who has received vitriolic bashing on social media platforms accusing her of being anti-Zulu for questioning the Circular. Some have accused her of being Xhosa and therefore has no right to comment on matters pertaining to amaZulu

The NEC warned that tribalism would not advance the country. Instead, it will derail the country’s progress like it has done to Africa in general. Countries like Burundi suffered immensely due to tribalism.

The NEC reiterated that it never said that the coronation of King Misuzulu should not be celebrated. SADTU, like many people in our society, observed with immense pride the coronation of King Misuzulu. It concurred with the Department of Education that this historic moment should form part of the history taught in our schools.

Policies guiding South Africa’s public education institutions mandate that in celebrating diversity, no cultural ethos must be dominant over others in public schools. South Africa has dedicated 24 September as Heritage Day to honour and celebrate the country’s diverse heritage and cultures. Beyond Heritage Day there is no call on learners or education workers to wear specific cultural attire. SADTU fully embraces the day and the country’s diverse cultures. It does not want to see the country reverting to a state where one language and culture find expression in schools and greater society. Those who decided to single out our Provincial Secretary and labeled her as anti-Zulu must know that we need each other and cannot use the colonial creation of dividing our people using ethnic and tribal hate speech. We call upon them to engage on the human rights issues so that we build South Africa. To demonstrate our support to the Zulu monarchy our Provincial Chairperson of both SADTU and COSATU attended the coronation ceremony. We respect all our Africa; monarchies and we will collaborate with them to fight for quality education.

As a structure that oversees the running of the affairs of the Union, the NEC looked at among other things, preparations for the Union’s National General Meeting (NGC) to take place from 04 to 06 October. The NGC meet, at least, once in five years to ratify decisions on the National Executive Committee and adopt policy issues of major importance in between National Congresses. The Union is ready for the National General Council.

The NGC will, amongst others, assess progress on resolutions taken at the last National Congress:

1.  “I AM A SCHOOL FAN” campaign to mobilise all stakeholders to ensure the schooling environment is safe for effective teaching and learning.

2.  The process of conceptualizing, piloting, and implementing the General Education Certificate in the system that will be issued at the end of grade 9.

3.   The Three Stream Model: Implementation of the Occupational Curriculum in Schools Skills and Piloting Vocationally Oriented Curriculum in ordinary public schools.

4.  Psycho-social support for teachers who experience serious challenges at schools.

5.  The vision of the government towards providing learners and teachers with connectivity for teaching and learning and Professional Development Framework for Digital Learning

6.  Assessment for Learning in the education system and for Assessment for Learning to form part of the national agenda.

7.  Our Global Response to the commercialisation and privatisation of education.

8.  Lack of proper infrastructure and overcrowded classes.

Tackling corruption

The NEC deliberated on the “Sound the Alarm” report released by Corruption Watch that purports to lift the lid on corruption within the public education space. According to the report, corruption was on the rise. This corruption entailed misappropriation of resources, maladministration, abuse of authority, procurement irregularities, employment irregularities and abuse of power by those in higher positions to solicit sexual favours from learners in exchange for high marks and solicit of sexual favours when people apply for jobs or seek employment. The NEC called on the law enforcement agencies to do their work and arrest the perpetrators as these acts had a direct impact on the country’s moral fibre and the future of quality public education.

The NEC congratulated SADTU Deputy General Secretary, Nkosana Dolopi for his appointment as a member of the National Anti-Corruption Advisory Council (NACAC) established by President Cyril Ramaphosa to strengthen the country’s fight against fraud and corruption. NACAC brings together representatives from civil society, including business to fight alongside government.

Teacher shortages

The NEC deliberated on the report by the Institute of Risk Management of South Africa warning of looming teacher shortages in the next ten years. The facts are that South Africa has more teachers who are unemployed. There is therefore no threat at this point in time to panic. What is needed is to deploy teachers into areas of their specialty. The report was rather alarmist. Education needs more money to employ the excess teachers who are currently not employed

2022/23 wage negotiations

The NEC received a report on the 2022/23 wage negotiations following the facilitation process which started on 26 August and ended on 31 August. In short, the employer is offering a 3% pensionable salary adjustment to all employees on salary levels 1 -12 employed before 1 April 2022; R1000 after tax non-pensionable gratuity to all employees on salary levels 1 – 12. The employer shall process the payment of 1,5% pay progression to all qualifying employees employed in the public service based on sectoral agreements. The adjustment of the housing allowance. The Union is still deliberating on the latest wage offer and will, after consultation with all members, take informed decisions.

 Tripartite Alliance Conferences

The NEC further indicated that the Union was ready for the upcoming Congress of its labour federation COSATU from 26 to 29 September. It noted that the Federation would go into the congress relatively stable compared to the ANC. It however raised concern over some affiliates who were experiencing internal turmoil. As a member of the Tripartite Alliance, the NEC reflected on the Alliance Partners gatherings that took place in June and July. The ANC held its policy conference and elective provincial conferences while the SACP held its National Congress. The NEC lamented the degeneration of ANC conferences. They were characterised by division, character assassination and to a certain extent, violence. However, the most shocking was the anchoring and solidification of factions. These do not augur well towards drawing people to the ANC. The NEC sounded the alarm that the unity of the ANC was under threat and if its National Executive Committee and Alliance partners do not abandon empty rhetoric and work on a pragmatic programme for renewal, the ANC would be the first liberation movement to hand over state power to former oppressors.

SADTU will prioritise the following areas at the 14th National Congress of Cosatu:

1.  The undermining and destruction of collective bargaining by religiously following Neo Liberal austerity measures that have failed for so many times but reproduced poverty, unemployment, and inequality

2.  Gender Based Violence – focusing on the dignity of the girl child and women.

3.  Climate change with practical experiences of disasters in some parts of country early this year.

4.  Provision of serviced land to all workers to allow them to build houses.

5.  The sanctions against Zimbabwe are affecting the working class of Zimbabwe and the entire SADC as opposed to the elites in Zimbabwe who continue to enjoy their lives.

The NEC welcomed efforts to renew the South African National Civic Organisation (SANCO). In the recent past, we have witnessed mass mobilisation of masses to attend protest actions and the convening of branch, regional and provincial conferences.

Union bashing in Swaziland

The NEC strongly condemned the bashing of our sister teacher union in Swaziland, the Swaziland National Association of Teachers (SNAT) and the persecution of her President, Mbongwa Dlamini by the Eswatini Government. As a union leader, Dlamini’s has faced arrests, his house sprayed with bullets by the eSwatini police and slapped with many counts of misconduct.

The NEC resolved to press upon COSATU, at its upcoming National Congress in September, to strengthen its solidarity work Swaziland and put more pressure on the Mswati regime to allow workers to organise freely and be members of unions of their choice. In the meantime, SADTU and the Union’s provinces neighbouring Swaziland will continue to support SNAT.

Sports and social cohesion

The NEC congratulated SADTU members and teachers who took part in the Comrades Marathon and encouraged more members to take part in this august event and in sport in general for their wellbeing and to promote sport in schools. Engaging in sport is crucial towards building cohesion and would lure learners away from the streets.


ISSUED BY: SADTU Secretariat

CONTACT: General Secretary, Mugwena Maluleke: 082 783 2968

                    Deputy General Secretary, Nkosana Dolopi: 082 709 5651

                    Media Officer, Nomusa Cembi: 082 719 5157