SADTU Eastern Cape holds a successful Provincial General Council – media statement

17 July 2019

The South African Democratic Teachers’ Union in the Eastern Cape, held a successful Provincial General Council (PGC) from Friday 12 until 13 July, 2019 at Regents Hotel in East London.

The PGC meets once in a four year cycle to ratify decisions of the Provincial Executive Committee (PEC) and adopt policy issues of major importance in-between Provincial Conferences. The PGC brought together 213 delegates from the province’s six regions representing 40000 members. It was graced with the presence of SADTU Vice President for Gender, Dorcus Sekabate, 1st Deputy Provincial Secretary of the South African Communist Party and Eastern Cape Education MEC, Fundile Gade.

The PGC acknowledged that the basic education landscape in the province was inconsistent with the national norm. Noting the improvement in the performance by the provincial department of education and its districts, the PGC said however, the right of the African working class child to quality public education in the Eastern Cape has been grossly limited by a basic education system that has been unstable for a long time. Education workers in the province were exposed to hostile conditions of service and severe challenges. The PGC warned that if these challenges are not attended to with the necessary sense of urgency, they will condemn the country’s future and indeed that of the people of the Eastern Cape to poverty, unemployment, inequality and a lack of development.

The challenges include among others, the non-payment of  rural incentive, non-implementation of Collective Agreements, the threat of privatization of education, education infrastructure shortages, unfavorable conditions of service, challenges in the ECD, CET and TVET sectors, a system that inherently de-professionalizes the teachers.

The PGC vowed that under such circumstances, it can no longer be business as usual.

The PGC resolved as follows:

On education:

To campaign for the delivery of school infrastructure including adequate physical infrastructure and sanitation;

To campaign for improved safety and security in our schools;

Ensure that the provincial Department of Basic Education pays all monies (transfers) due to schools on time and not through tranches;

Embark on teacher development programs that will improve learning outcomes in the Province.

On organizational matters:

The PGC acknowledged that the Union has emerged from an extremely difficult phase organizationally in the Province when some members organized and recruited members from within to alternatives unions in a project that was intended to ensure that SADTU surrendered her status as the majority Union in the sector in the province to an alternative pseudo-organization.

The PGC vowed to defeat this project by continuing to work even harder to organize, mobilize and service members by doing the following:

  • Intensify our recruitment programme through the establishment of recruitment teams across the Province.
  • Embark on an intensive capacity building programme for our site stewards and members that will focus but not limited to: Effective member representation, Case Handling and Grievance Procedures, Dispute Resolution and Prevention.
  • Improve service to the vulnerable sectors like Early Childhood Development (ECD), Community Education and Training (CET), Technical Vocational Education and Training (TVET) andOffice Based Educators.

On unity of SADTU, COSATU and the Tripartite Alliance

The PGC pledged to work harder to build unity in the Union. We declare that our unity is sacrosanct and that we will work hard to defend it. It is our firm view as the delegates that education workers must be organized under one umbrella for that it is where their real power lies; that is the only way through which they can ensure that the employer is held accountable and that there is nothing about us without us.

And it is our belief that any individual or grouping working against the unity of the workers to their own detriment must be exposed, isolated and ultimately defeated. We are aware that as education workers; we have no any other home outside of SADTU.

The Council committed to work towards reviving COSATU to be a campaigning and militant Federation. COSATU remains the only hope and shield for the workers.

The PGC committed to do the following:

  • Embark on campaigns to position COSATU as a campaigning federation.
  • Build capacity of site stewards to understand their role in building COSATU

The PGC noted that our strategic ally, the African National Congress has led our country to greater heights since the dawn of democracy. A number of strategic interventions have since been introduced in all spheres of government including basic education and these have proven to be very successful in the context of development. We accept that it is only through the ANC led government that we have made major developmental advances as a country. 

We declare that we remain fully committed to the National Democratic Revolution; we reaffirm our commitment to the tripartite alliance that is biased to the working class and the poor.

On international solidarity:

  • The PGC pledged solidarity with the struggling people of Palestine and supported the decision taken by the Republic of South Africa to downgrade the SA embassy in Israel as per the resolution of the ANC Nasrec Conference;
  • Embark on solidarity programs with COSATU to raise the awareness of our members about the plight of the Palestinians;
  • Support the self determination of the people of Western Sahara and support the stance of the RSA government in that regard;
  • Pledge solidarity with our brothers and sisters in Swaziland;
  • We condemn the attempts of the Trump led Administration in the USA to delegitimize the government of President Maduro in Venezuela through instigating sponsored regime change.

ISSUED BY: SADTU EASTERN CAPE SECRETARIAT

CONTACT:

 Provincial Secretary, Chris Mdingi: 060 683 4462

 Deputy Secretary, Nolitha Mboniswa: 060 520 1447