Unfair public attack on SADTU about the Limpopo textbook saga by COSATU General Secretary Zwelinzima Vavi
It is our conviction that the General Secretary has now declared himself the "Master of own goals."
The General Secretary has, on the public platform, asked controversial questions about the availability of SADTU in the Limpopo textbook saga and accused the Union of having slept over the revolution on the issue of textbooks.
He asked: "Where SADTU was when textbooks were not delivered in schools until June?"
Our response: "SADTU was in class teaching when textbooks were not delivered in schools."
Against any popular view driven by the excitement of media populists, we want to put the following on record for the attention of General Secretary Vavi:
The General Secretary never took any effort to enquire either from the national office of SADTU as a matter of protocol or Provincial Secretary of COSATU about the role of the Union on the matter and instead he found it exciting to jump and raise the matter on the public domain vilifying all progressive structures for, according to his opinion, having done nothing.
It should be on record that SADTU was the first to raise the issue of textbooks with the Department of Education in December 2011. This is evident in a memorandum submitted to the Department on 12 January 2012. Section 27 picked up the issue from SADTU and others during a meeting held with the publishers after 15 February 2012. Like any other right-wing force, they ran to the Court of Law.
We are convinced that SADTU took the correct decision that in view of the failure of the Department of Education to deliver textbooks to schools, SADTU would continue to teach our learners and children of the working class against an irrational and populist stance of collapsing the system by going on a strike. We resolved to engage the Department of Education to ensure that the textbooks are delivered whilst our children continue to learn. We are happy that teachers remain committed to their resolve of teaching our learners despite painful, unfair and mischievous utterances by Vavi.
Vavi's utterances are a clear own goal which demonstrates his arrogance. He has grown bigger than his boots and developed a dangerous personality-cult. The decency of following procedure no longer exists in him. The honourable and decent thing would have been to find information or asked his questions to SADTU and Provincial COSATU in order to articulate an informed position that represents the workers and not his unfortunate personal convictions.
The very same question he raised can be put to him: "What did COSATU do when textbooks were not delivered to school until June?"
The approach of SADTU on the matter is that finger-pointing, cheap political point scoring, public spats and populist stances will not deliver textbooks to schools. We cannot compromise teaching of our learners over this matter which we believe can be resolved by different methods short of abandoning our classes. Teachers will continue to soldier on despite these difficult conditions and discouraging messages from some of the people reported to represent our aspirations and from which we pin our hopes that they will better understand our situation.
We continue to regard the General Secretary's statement as unfortunate. It does not bring hope and courage to members of SADTU who work hard for integrity and cohesion of the Union and the Federation.
Further, we hope that this information will assist him to stop scoring own goals and use internal channels to enable him to present informed positions on the public domain on behalf of workers and not find a space to run parallel with rightwing-associated organizations.
The General Secretary should know that we score against our class-contenders (enemy) not against our own structures.
Statement issued by SADTU Limpopo provincial secretary, Jacob Matome Raphasha, July 24 2012
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