Angie Motshekga responds to SADTU's call for her to go

Minister says tariffs on page 3 of Collective Agreement No. 1 of 2011 were erroneously inserted

Minister Motshekga finds SADTU's call for her resignation regrettable

6 Mar 2013

The Minister of Basic Education is disappointed at the utterances made by the leadership of the South Africa Democratic Teachers Union that she must resign. The Minister finds the stance taken by the South African Democratic Teachers; Union (SADTU) unfortunate, the posture and tone regrettable.

At this point it is important to set the record straight on some of the key allegations that SADTU has made:

Collective Bargaining

On 7 April 2011 a Collective Agreement No. 1 OF 2011 was entered into under the auspices of the Education Labour Relations Council. The purpose was recorded as being to "improve the remuneration of those who are appointed as markers in the National Examinations". The agreement was introduced to align the collective bargaining processes with the published gazette (Government Notice 187; Gazette 34079) of 2011.

However, the tariffs inserted on page 3 of the Collective Agreement were in conflict with the above-mentioned gazette published in February 2011. The error was picked up and communicated to the unions. The financial implication of the error was that the provinces would have had to pay an additional R700 million which was not in their budgets.

The senior manager and middle manager responsible for the error were disciplined and given final written warnings for their negligence in this matter. As a result the Department did not proceed with the implementation of the erroneous agreement. The unions accepted in principle that a bona fide error had occurred and this led to the addendum to Collective Agreement 1 of 2011, which was signed on 18 December 2011.

In various meetings with unions held to discuss this matter the Director-General was assured of the support of the unions including SADTU in his attempts to find a solution. SADTU's attitude began to change as the union failed to attend meetings arranged to discuss this matter. SADTU rejected various offers made by the department to find a resolution to this matter.

The union's position on this matter has left the department with no option but to withdraw from the dispute it had lodged with the ELRC to clarify the validity of the agreement. This means in effect that the members of SADTU have gained nothing from the union's intransigent position on this matter.

It is, therefore, unfortunate for the unions to continue to make demands that we pay based on the figures that they have agreed with us that were incorrect.

The dismissal of the Director-General

The Minister, in keeping with the directive of the president, is awaiting a report from the Public Service Commission on the investigation into the procurement of textbooks before she can consider the matter. When the Minister receives a report from the Commission only then will the matter be considered.

The Minister is committed and available to meet and discuss the issues raised by the union.

Statement issued by the Department of Basic Education, March 6 2013

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