23 September 2014
The South African Democratic Teachers Union welcomes the Bisho High Court ruling in the application brought against us by the SADTU Eastern Cape provincial leadership. The leadership of the province had brought a case against the National Executive Committee and the Union in its entirety in contestation of some organisational decisions that had been taken previously by the highest structure.
We must highlight that according to our Constitution, SADTU is a unitary structure with the highest decision making body in between National General Councils and Congress being the National Executive Committee therefore, decisions taken at this level are binding to all other structures. Democratic centralism and organisational discipline which are some of the fundamental principles we live by dictate that once a decision is taken by the appropriate structure, we are all obliged to not only uphold it but to ensure that it gets implemented at all levels even though we may not have supported it initially.
The provincial leadership of the Eastern Cape regrettably took a decision to contradict the above mentioned organisational principles and subjected the Union to the courts of law. The provincial leadership was contesting decisions taken by the Special NEC of the 22nd of July which included that the province be put under administration and its affairs be managed by the National Office jointly with it. The other NEC decision being contested was that a thorough investigation into some circumstances surrounding the EC Provincial Conference be lodged, this was after official objections were received from some structures within the province about same.
The Judge dismissed the application by the provincial leadership against the Union and further instructed that the Provincial Secretary of the Eastern Cape Cde. Mncekeleli Ndongeni pay the costs in his personal capacity because no structure can take the Union to court whilst there is a constitution in place.
To us however this is a bitter sweet victory; whilst we have been vindicated by the judge, we are taken aback by the fact that the Union had to be hauled before the courts of law by one of its own structures. This is despite having a Constitution that informs our internal organisational processes. The fact that the Union has won three court cases in less than three months in applications brought against it is indicative of a misdirected and regressive approach adopted by others to address organisational matters.
Every member is duty bound to uphold the union`s Constitution, respect higher structures and adhere to decisions that have been taken. Any action by an individual member or structure contrary to this will create fertile ground for the seeds of divisions. Our unity is sacrosanct, let us all beware of the wedge drive, let us defend SADTU.
ISSUED BY: SADTU SECRETARIAT
Click here to view the judgement on the matter between the NEC committe of SADTU and the members of the Eastern Cape SADTU province