Our response to City Press' jobs-for-sale claims - SADTU KZN

Union says it is only party to the filling of posts as observers to ensure the fairness of the whole process


19 MAY 2015

SADTU KwaZulu Natal is disturbed by the pattern that has been adopted by the City Press in discrediting SADTU every time the Union engages the employer on labour related matters. It seems like the newspaper is hell-bent on making sure that is dissuades the public from the real issues that the teachers are raising.  To us, City Press is having a big agenda of destroying the organisation and its leaders, if not we believe that it is being used to liquidate the organisation.

On the 27th of April 2014 an article headlined, “How SADTU sells its posts” was misleading because SADTU does not have any post to sell. We only have leadership positions which are democratically filled according to SADTU constitution. We only are party to the filling of posts as observers to ensure fairness of the whole process.

All the posts belong to the Department of Education. The late Cde Zondi was not a whistle blower but was a leader of a union who was committed in the programme of the organisation of fighting corruption. He led numerous marches in the Mbuso Shabalala Region against corruption. What was strange is that he was singled out by the Departmental officials whom we had alleged as being corrupt.

We want to remind the public that this thing by the City Press came out in an article on the “More jobs for sale in SADTU racket” 04th of May 2014 where there were serious allegations against Departmental officials regarding corruption including allegations of post fixing. In the same article, our late Cde Zondi was put as a whistle blower who was killed for raising corruption issues, according to the City Press.

In the latest article of 17 May 2015 titled “SADTU selling principals posts”, the public need to know that indeed there is corruption in the department and that is what the Union raised years ago. It is this union SADTU that called for investigations in the Department and we have not been proved wrong in what we are alleging. The public is being misled so that the society is pitted against the union and is discredited in the public eye. All this, we believe, is part of the political agenda to make the union weak (see report).

Organizationally and administratively SADTU, like all recognized unions, has the right to participate in all issues of education because there are policies that grant SADTU this right. It is our belief that all these attacks that are directed to the union and its leaders are meant to cause the union to be weak and to scare the leaders from raising issues sharply as we normally do for fear of being seen as pushing a particular agenda.

The policy allows SADTU to be part of the Interviewing Panels as an observer in a team of about five or more people. SADTU does not give scores but observe the process to ensure that there is fairness and transparency. We have noted that there are people who have developed discomfort with the presence of SADTU as their agenda gets disturbed when we raise questions and demands that the policy be adhered to.

When these allegations came out last year, the Union confidently called for an investigation by SACE and the Department. According to our knowledge, the investigation is/was conducted and we called for whoever had information to make submissions to the investigating bodies so that their information could be processed accordingly. We said so mainly because, as the union, there has never been a decision to fix or sell a post.

We have checked in the archives of the union and we can confidently say in the 25 years of SADTU’s existence, nothing related to post fixing or selling of posts was ever agreed upon.  Even today, we say we dont believe there is anyone who is going to be assisted by dealing with these issues in the media. We understand that SADTU is a brand but our union must not be used to attract newspaper buyers. If there is information and evidence of post selling, that information must be presented to the commission.

We call upon the communities to understand that SADTU is the union that is still committed to transparency, justice and democracy. The union is still committed in fighting all forms of discrimination in the education sector. The union is still committed to quality teaching and learning.

It is based on this reality that we continue to engage the Department of Education on issues that have the potential of delaying delivery of quality teaching and learning. SADTU will not keep quiet when officials of the department take and implement unilateral decisions that undermine the democratically established forums of engagements.

The Education Labour Relations Council remains the hope as a provider of a conducive space to engage on issues about members. So are CMTTs and DTTs. We will not keep quiet when these structures are undermined and decisions taken and are not being implemented. Norms and standards allocation allow schools to continue with the day to day running of the schools. When schools are not given their allocations without valid reasons how can SADTU be expected to fold its arms and say all is all when it is not?

School governing bodies are undermined and their powers are taken away especially when there are appointment processes that are to take place – are we also expected to keep quiet? SADTU is the majority union and we are not apologetic about that. Our numbers dictate that we must be informed about everything happening in the department.

The chaos in some districts where managers are just moved willy nilly without informing unions is part of the unilateralisation of the department. It is our considered view that some officials in the department are scared of engaging because SADTU will uncover their plans which are personally – interest driven.

We want to categorically emphasise that the union has been raising serious issues in Ilembe and Ugu since 2011 and 2012 respectively. The department must therefore not shift the goal posts and claim that the action in the two districts is about posts. The action is as a result of the failure of the department to address the issues and workers at that level had no other option but to force engagements with the employer that was running away.

In 2013 our Region marched twice and presented memorandums which were received by the department but there has never been any response to the issues raised there. The same thing with Ilembe. Now the City Press claims that all is about posts. The 37 posts the City Press is reffering to were only advertised last year when the union had already been in engagements with the districts on a number of issues as we have said.

As for the minimum requirements for the posts having been changed by SADTU, the public must know that this issue is well covered in the PELRC Collective Agreement of 2010. It clearly states that the minimum requirement is a teachers diploma or M+3. So, calling for the correction of the misprint was the call to the department to adhere to the policies including collective agreements that it had signed.

As for the allegation that the Department is collapsing, it is SADTU who years ago, warned the management of the Department that if the issues that we continued to raise were not attended to including the non filling of vacancies , the department would collapse. Even today we say if the Department does not plan to fill all vacancies; if the monies are not given to schools on time; if districts are still not able to deal with finance and HR matters; if the Department does not buy cars for subject advisors and other officials to support schools; if Section 21 schools are not given full functions like Function C; if the traveling kilometers is capped on 750 a month, the Department indeed is going to collapse.

In KwaZulu Natal we are fresh from the Education Summit where we were mobilizing the society to support education and we are calling all interested parties to commit to the implementation of Summit Resolutions as we strongly believe that if they can be implemented, the Department will be saved.

As the Union in KwaZulu Natal,  we are continuing with the union programmes. Right now we are busy, amongst other things, with our Regional Triennial General Meetings. Out of 7, we have managed to run 6 – the  Mbuso Shabalala, North Coast, Mzala Nxumalo, Ethekwini North, Harry Gwala and Durban South Regions. As part of the tasks of these meetings, resolutions on the transformation of education, membership service, etc were taken. This included the election of new leadership. We call upon all SADTU members to remain disciplined and avoid provocation of whatever kind. The union is alive and the responsibility of all members and leaders is to unite workers.

Let us love and defend the union.

Nomarashiya Caluza – SADTU KZN Provincial Secretary

Bheki Shandu - SADTU KZN Deputy Provincial Secretary

Statement issued by SADTU KwaZulu-Natal, May 19 2015