Declaration of the National General Council of the South African Democratic Teachers Union (SADTU) 4-6 October 2022


We, the delegates to this National General Council, we bow our heads! we dip our revolutionary banner! in honour of all our fallen heroes and heroines.

We further remember members of our Union, education workers in general and front-line workers in the health and security clusters that were among the over 100 000 South Africans who succumbed to COVID-19 pandemic.

The SADTU National General Council was convened on the 4th to the 6th of October 2022 at Emperors Palace in Ekurhuleni, Gauteng Province. Representing over 260 000 education workers from across the length and breadth of our country, the NGC was attended by 156 delegates who were joined by both international and local guests, stakeholders in the sector, the tripartite alliance partners, and representatives from the broader mass democratic movement.

Our National General Council coincided with the World Teachers Day on the 5th of October on its second day. Most appropriately, this year’s theme is “the transformation of education begins with teachers”.

We the delegates to this NGC, are still of the firm view that education forms the very nucleus of our societal transformative agenda.

We further reaffirm that the importance of education lies essentially in that it is an ideological weapon that allows people to understand the problems that society must face in each historical moment, in addition to being a fundamental path to solving many of these problems.  

We assert that without teachers, it is impossible to provide an equitable and quality education system that liberate people from ignorance because ignorant people are a blind instrument of their own destruction.

We reiterate that at the very centre of the education system, we have education workers whose dignity and safety should be promoted and protected in pursuance of a decolonized quality public education system as directed by our 9th National Congress.

We submit that the curriculum based on excessive assessment and accountability (ticking the box based on standardised curriculum) is educationally and psychologically damaging to our children and cannot change their behaviours, we believe that is part of the reason we are witnessing so much violence in our institutions and society in general. On the same note, we reaffirm our campaign against violence in schools, the “I AM A SCHOOL FAN” campaign.

We hereby recommit and reaffirm our 2030 Vision and further resolve as follows:                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                               PILLAR NUMBER 1


TVET Colleges, Vulnerable Sectors & Member Service

We reaffirm the decisions of the 9th National Congress resolution on organisational renewal in TVET college branches and furthermore, the NEC should develop a programme of action for the roll out on TVET launches. We are calling on all our structures to include education workers in the vulnerable sectors in their programmes so that we can improve membership service to them.

We condemn DHET for using the GPSSBC to negotiate matters affecting the TVET lecturers’ condition of service when there are legal platforms established in terms of an act of parliament. We further send a stern warning to the GPSSBC which has allowed itself to be used to undermine the established bargaining unit.

We resolve to embark on a rolling mass action to restore our organisational rights that have been undermined and destroyed by the DHET with the intention of liquidating the union.

Growing the Organisation

We hereby resolve that we will continue to grow our organisation through innovative recruitment means and by constructing programmes to keep young education workers engaged and to strengthen our Student Chapter.



Education Infrastructure

We are insistent as education workers that the government of the day should ensure that we are adequately equipped with the tools of our trade including continuous professional development, favourable working conditions in ideal schools such as the acceptable class sizes instead of the “mini-mass meetings” that some of our peers are faced with. As the delegates to this NGC, we are taking a firm stand against austerity measures being introduced through the back door in as far as public services are concerned.

On School Safety:

We resolved that the “I AM SCHOOL FAN CAMPAIGN” should infuse the element of anti-corruption which will include the campaign against the selling of posts, and over and above that, the campaign should encourage members with information to report such information to the Union and to law enforcement officials.

It remains our intention to rid our schools of all forms violence more especially as it is directed towards women and the girl child in our schools. 

Furthermore, we are extremely concerned and opposed to learners and teachers being subjected to more than 8 hours every day at schools, with no rest even during weekends. This will certainly lead to burn-out.  We view this as a new form of slavery and exploitation of teachers.

On COVID and the Education Sector:

We resolved that the union should hold education seminars with a focus on educational transformation considering the impact of COVID 19 with the intention of developing and processing ideas for further stakeholder engagement.

A proper audit must be conducted in all schools to ensure full compliance to disaster management and furthermore form a task team for disaster planning purposes. 

Early Childhood Development:

We concluded that an in-service training be conducted for grade R teachers to qualify to be mainstreamed with time frames for norms and standards. Furthermore, the union calls upon the employer to establish a provident fund.


We resolved that e-recruitment systems must be reworked or streamlined to be more applicant friendly, and furthermore have a dual process formally put in place to limit some of the challenges faced in the current systems.

The Union must oppose the old apartheid and discredited inspection system introduced through the back door by the anti-workers Democratic Alliance in the Western Cape supported by among others, Action SA. We take this opportunity to caution workers against this liberal party that has openly and repeatedly spoken against the Labour Relations Act.


We continue to articulate our view that the current curriculum is not fit for purpose because it is obsessed with assessment for shaming, league tables and neoliberalism at its best. It remains our firm view that it should be structured such that it helps us genuinely to transform our society through inculcating the ideal values and ethics including the climate change crisis that we are now experiencing.  An immediate example would be the floods earlier this year that affected KZN and parts of the Eastern Cape.

We reaffirm our position on the reconfiguration of the system by introducing the three-stream model meant to cater for all learners at school as opposed to a strictly academic education system that excludes a fair number that possess different talents.



It is conspicuously clear that South Africa is in the middle of neoliberal economic policy failures and political divisions caused by the neoliberal economic trajectory, in which the Tripartite Alliance is directly affected. We remain strongly opposed to neoliberalism, in favour of a national democratic revolutionary path.

We recommit ourselves to defending Collective Bargaining as a key gain that is a result of our persistent struggles

Renewal of the ANC

We reaffirmed our role as a red union of all education workers in a country whose fundamental objective is to transform the education system as our contribution to the National Democratic Revolution which we still see as a necessary and shortest way to socialism.

As the delegates, we support the renewal and unity process of the ANC through the radical swelling of routes to the ANC by the working class. However, the swelling of the ranks cannot only be achieved through internal contestations but rather, adequate political education to among others the SADTU Student Chapter, COSAS, SASCO, the ANCYL and the YCLSA.


As the delegates to this NGC, we encourage all our members to continue to participate in the programmes of the Federation and to firmly support the Medium-Term Vision of the Federation.

It is our view that SADTU should be in the forefront of negotiating with the Unions that left COSATU because in our view, Union fragmentation can only weaken the class struggle with which we are engaged.

The NGC reaffirm all our previous alliance resolutions in building the unity and cohesion of a reconfigured alliance as it remains an appropriate vehicle for consolidating and deepening the NDR and for initiating fundamental socialist transformation. We further reaffirm our previous resolutions on the convening of a Special Congress in the eventuality that the SACP decides to contest elections. The Union should continue to strengthen the independent programmes of COSATU and the SACP.

Furthermore, we will continuously engage the vanguard Party of the workers, the SACP on its own analysis and assessment on its state of readiness in as far as electoral processes are concerned. We are calling on our federation COSATU to engage on the matter of elections and our vanguard Party in a deliberate manner and to apply the proper tools of analysis on how we can proceed considering our common programme, the NDR. 

Energy Supply Crisis

We the delegates having noted the theme of the World Teachers’ Day and the 9th National Congress, are concerned with the energy supply capacity of ESKOM. We do not find it acceptable that teachers, learners, and the entire country are subjected to load-shedding as a regular feature. All public entities should be protected against corruption and looting. 

We therefore demand that the security cluster investigate the real sources behind what we see as a deliberate sabotage.  We noted that during the 2021 local government elections blackouts increased incrementally and at a drastic pace.

We reasonably suspect that at the very centre of this energy crisis is about an agenda to influence the outcomes of the ANC conference in December 2022. 



On Internationalism & Working-Class Solidarity

We resolved that the South African government should be compelled through COSATU to call on SADC and the AU to intervene decisively in the challenges that are being faced by the working people and the poor of Swaziland and Zimbabwe. We stand firmly against the brutal reprisals that the people of those countries face. We agreed that in both countries, political movements should be allowed to operate freely as a fundamental right. We pledge solidarity with the people of Palestine and Western Sahara

We resolved tocoordinate more actively and become a systematic participant in the work of international solidarity, global justice, and education for all. Furthermore, we resolved that through COSATU, we will call for both AU and UN to act decisively against Morocco in affirming the right of the Saharawi people to self-determination. We also resolved to continue to support the working people of Swaziland against an oppressive, anti-worker regime and to further promote open and sustained debates on campaigns on Israel, solidarity with Palestine, Cuba, Venezuela, and other parts of the world struggling against imperialism and for democratic self-rule.

As the delegates, we reaffirm our long-standing decision to build strong relations with organisations from our region and the continent. We believe that we have a revolutionary responsibility to assist our sister organisations in every way possible as some from the region face serious challenges from draconian regimes like our comrades from Swaziland.

We pledge solidarity with the working people and the oppressed from within our region and the world in general. Furthermore, at the global stage we are concerned with the developments in Europe with the ongoing conflict between Russia and Ukraine. We are also of the view that this is a significant shift in the context of the international balance of forces, with NATO in particular acting as a proxy of the Western capitalist block.



We resolved to continue to build our capacity as an organisation in many ways to ensure that members, the owners of the organisation receive the service they deserve as the lifeline of the Union.


We assert that the dignity of the teaching, education support personnel and the students in our learning institutions is inherent and does not need evidence.  We further acknowledge that our dignity has been degraded, undermined, invaded, trampled upon and sacrificed.

We assert that our democratic dispensation is founded on human dignity, and freedom and, that these values underline and give substance to the rights in the Constitution. 

We declare that the next five years our Union and its members will strive for the ‘restoration’ of the dignity of teachers (teachers includes everyone who performs the job of teaching), education support personnel and students in our institutions of learning. 

We declare to honour the ideals of our forebears by ensuring that learning institutions strive for the advancement of self-awareness and a sense of self-worth.

 We decree that a revolutionary teacher’s objective is to develop in everyone their personalities and to strive for self-fulfilment through a caring environment. We reject the neoliberal agenda that regard teachers and education support personnel as tools or human instruments to be used to achieve the interests of others. We unapologetically assert the dignity and safety of everyone not because they are obliged to do anything but because they are human beings.

We recognise and accept that learning institutions are sanctuaries and centres of our communities obligated to transform everyone’s expectations about what is possible and what they can achieve.

We refuse to see another death in our learning institutions because failure of the duty-bearers to provide education that changes behaviour and a secure learning and working environment.

Congress declares that members of SADTU as education personnel at all levels, are revolutionaries and have a duty to teach, to care, to pronounce and expose sexual harassment of workers and learners wherever it may rear its ugly head. This is what defines the character of SADTU members as revolutionary professionals.

We are saying no to the victimisation, harassment and killing of education workers. We are declaring war against violence and drugs in our learning institutions and society in general. We are henceforth adopting a zero-tolerance attitude to violence in our schools.

We protect! We care! We denounce Violence!

We are school fans!