SADTU Free State Declaration of Provincial General Council

12 - 13 April 2019

We, the 140 delegates gathered at Woodlands Lodge in Parys, representing over 14 000 members in the province, attended the Provincial General Council (PGC) convened under the themeRestore the character of SADTU as a Union of Revolutionary Professionals, Agents of Change and Champions of Peoples Education for Peoples Power, in pursuit of Socialism. Our meeting is dictated by our constitution which directs the PGC to adopt policy issues of major importance in between conferences.

We note that our PGC takes place at the time when the Union is heading towards its 9th National Congress, the highest decision making body in the union scheduled for September 2019. We therefore took advantage of the PGC to thoroughly prepare the province for the work ahead. We are looking forward to a National Congress of teachers and education workers with the main purpose of building a strong and united organisation.   

The PGC spent adequate time in analysing the state of the union in the province to be able to map way forward. We noted some neo-liberal attempts by former union leaders whom the union expelled, to attack SADTU and its leaders at national and elsewhere in provinces. The PGC fully supported legal action taken by the national leadership in defence of the union and its leaders. We call on all leaders in the province to be vigilant, be closer to members and provide quality service. We strongly believe that the defence mechanism against any infiltration of the union is our unity which is informed by sharing of information with members, negotiating favourable benefits for members, representing members against unfair labour practices, organising capacity building workshops, engaging in sports, arts and cultural activities, and being a goal oriented organisation to realise our objectives of the 2030 vision.  

The PGC received messages of support from alliance partners; the SACP and COSATU whose inputs contributed immensely in debates and resolutions that were adopted.  The council further received presentations from SACE, GEPF, and GEMS to clarify some of the concerns members have on the ground. We welcome with appreciation the move by SACE to launch Teachers’ Rights, Responsibilities and Safety Programme to address the scourge of violence in schools especially on teachers. This posture is positive as it portrays SACE differently from the view that many teachers hold that it only cares about the rights of learners, whilst it is the Council for Educators, whom it has to develop and protect.

The PGC was disappointed by the absence of the leader of the alliance, the ANC. The PGC continues to regard ANC as an organisation that is rooted amongst the masses and in particular the working class who are the motive force of our National Democratic Revolution. We are therefore expecting the ANC to always be where the masses are. This tendency has to be condemned with the contempt it deserves, and through COSATU we will use the appropriate forum to express our dissatisfaction.

PGC appreciated the historic Matthew Goniwe Memorial Lecture organised by the province and presented by the General Secretary, Cde Mugwena Maluleke. This memorial lecture has revived and sharpened our political understanding of a true revolutionary in the real challenging working environment. Cde Matthew Goniwe’s political attributes cannot be divorced from his character of being a strict disciplinarian, and stickler of punctuality”, hence we commit to the provisioning of public quality education to eradicate high level of poverty, unemployment and inequality.    

Our PGC is preceded by numerous activities organised by the union in the province, which are in line with our 2030 Vision. Through these activities we bridged the gap between members and leaders and brought unity and stability in the organisation. During the period under review the PGC noted with appreciation the following successful activities:

  • Induction workshop for all Regional and Provincial Office Bearers
  • Young Women Brigade for empowerment of young workers (females)
  • International Woman’s Day to celebrate achievements of women’ struggles
  • Education Workers Fora to listen and interact with members
  • Annual Beauty Pageant to attract and appreciate young workers
  • Fun Walk and Matthew Goniwe Memorial Lecture to promote healthy living and to commemorate the life of our struggle hero who was a teacher

The PGC noted and condemned:  

  • The supreme powers allocated to Treasury which renders other departments dysfunctional
  • The corrupt activities in Eskom which impacted negatively on citizens, especially the working class and the poor
  • The reluctance and lack of political will to implement NHI which is a pro-poor medical care system

The Council resolved on the following crucial issues affecting members:  

  • Change of pay date of teachers’ salaries in the province
  • Safety of teachers and other education workers at the workplace
  • The need for the restructuring of Core and extra-Curricular
  • The need for capacity building in the union to build second layer of leadership
  • Delay in the payment of schools allocations
  • The need for increase in the no-fee schools’ allocation
  • Delay in the payment of temporary teachers
  • Ongoing harassment of TVET Lectures in Colleges
  • Conditions of service for Grade R/ECD practitioners
  • Proper service to other education workers (Admin staff, Cleaners, Groundsmen)
  • Gender insensitivity in schools and in particular towards LGBTI employees and learners

On Student Chapter

We reaffirm the NGC resolution on collaborating with tertiary institutions with the sole aim of growing the organisation and preparing final year students to understand workplace politics at the right time.

We will continue utilising the programme called WORLD OF WORK (WOW) organised by education faculties in universities to attract prospective graduates to join SADTU.

On School Infrastructure, resources and curriculum as drivers of quality public education

The Council declared that infrastructure, curriculum redesign and the financing of public education remain an apex priority of government in order to achieve the UN SDG, in particular SDG4.  The PGC however noted progress made in the infrastructural development in the province whilst acknowledging backlogs in some areas.

On safety in schools

PGC noted and appreciated that through the insistence of SADTU, the provincial department of education finally convened safety in schools summit of which majority of the participants were teachers, but was disappointed at the snail’s pace of consolidating resolutions of the summit for implementation. PGC resolved that the department of education should be caused to avail the summit resolutions and start with implementation without any further delay.

On no-fee school allocation to schools

The PGC noted that allocations to schools per learner has been capped at R100 since the inception of the classification of schools in terms of quintiles. The no–fee schools are in terms of Act not allowed to charge school fees, except for fundraising which is very difficult in these poor communities.

The PGC resolved that there should be an increase in no-fee schools allocation for the schools to be able perform optimally 

On delay in payment of temporary teachers

The PGC condemned the delay in payment of temporary teachers by the department of education. Some of temporary teachers were not paid since January 2019. The PGC called on structures to follow dispute resolution mechanism enshrined in the ELRC Constitution.

On membership service

  • The Council condemned and called for action against structures that continue to contravene the constitution of the union by not calling meetings as expected
  • The Council noted the challenges in TVETs where amongst others 37% is still owed to lecturers and non-conversion of temporary lecturers into permanent positions in some colleges. To this, the PGC resolved that the union should apply the constitution of the ELRC on dispute resolution to ensure compliance by the colleges.
  • The Council further noted with concern the sorry state of Grade R and ECD practitioners, and acknowledged with appreciation the progress registered in the ELRC to bring uniformity across provinces. The Council welcomed the provincial programme of the union to meet Grade R and ECD practitioners to update them on developments in the bargaining councils. We condemned the provincial government of Free State for not increasing the stipends for these practitioners since 2013 despite ever escalating prizes in the markets and demand urgent attention to address the impasse.
  • The PGC condemned the unilateral change of conditions of service of subject advisors and resolved that the union should invoke ELRC dispute resolution procedures.
  • Council noted that departmental workshops and meetings are organised in the afternoon whilst teachers are exhausted and do not add value to the development of teachers and education in general, and whilst mindful of not disrupting teaching time, PGC resolved that workshops and meetings should start in the morning at 08h00.

On support for the ANC

Guided by our National Congress resolution and that of COSATU,  we commit to be on the streets in our numbers to ensure a convincing victory for the ANC in the coming national general elections. As SADTU we are not apologetic about our support for the ANC in the coming national general election as per the Congress resolution. Whilst we acknowledge the challenges within the movement, we strongly believe that these challenges are not insurmountable. We stand behind state capture commission, but caution against putting the cart before the horse by trialling those implicated on public space without allowing the commission to conclude its work with clear recommendations. We further caution against being taken by elections hype by supporting those who are making noise at the periphery and not approaching the commission to testify.

On international solidarity work

The PGC in support of the Ida Cyclone victims in Mozambique, Zimbabwe and Malawi resolved to mobilise members and society at large to contribute clothes, canned food staff and any other contribution in kind. All contributions would then be sent to the national office to be directed to the affected countries.

We will spare neither effort nor strength to pledge our solidarity with the people of Venezuela, Palestine and Cuba. We condemn the conduct of USA Donald Trump led government to restore some trade and travel restrictions lifted in Cuba. This is the reversal of the work done by administration of his predecessor, Barrack Obama.  We condemn with strongest terms the imposition of governments by the USA in replacement of the sitting heads of states using undemocratic processes in these countries. We call on members to support the alliance international solidarity campaigns to advance our course.

In conclusion.

We are re-energised as members and we re-commit ourselves to work harder in building a strong organisation in the education sector. We will improve on servicing members, including those in vulnerable sectors such as AET, ECD, TVET and office based. Our unity is paramount and we will defend it with all our might.

We will remain a member driven union and will represent their aspirations with utmost dedication.

AND SO WE DECLARE

Issued by Provincial Secretariat