SADTU wishes COSATU a successful National Congress

16 September 2018

The South African Democratic Teachers' Union (SADTU) wishes the Congress of South African Trade Unions (COSATU), a successful 13th National Congress that begins on Monday, 17th and ends on 20th September, 2018 at Gallagher Estate in Midrand.

To be held under the theme: "Deepen the Back to Basics Campaign, Consolidate the Struggle for National Democratic Revolution and Advance the Struggle for Socialism", the Congress is taking place at a time when the country is imposing austerity measures which seek to threaten the livelihoods of workers through increased taxation and job losses, more especially in the public sector. We hope the Congress will resolve strongly against this and take us out of this impasse.

We would like to see our beloved COSATU emerging from the Congress with more vigour as a militant campaigning federation that seeks to ensure that our hard-fought gains, such as the right to strike, are not eroded. As a union in the education sector, we face the threat of declaring of education as an essential service which is a direct threat to our right to strike. This is despite the Constitutional Court having given extensive consideration to what is entailed in the right to strike and how this right is to be interpreted. The essence of the Constitutional Court judgements. The following are important conclusions of the Court in SATAWU V MOLOTO [2012] ZACC 19:

"[57] It is thus important to recognise that the right to strike protected in the Constitution must be interpreted in the general context that it is a right that is based on the recognition of disparities in the social and economic power held by employers and employees."

"[59] Another feature of the right to strike is that it is an integral part of the collective bargaining process. As noted in Bader Bop, the committees engaged with the supervision of the ILO Conventions have asserted that the right to strike is essential to collective bargaining. This was also recognised in the First Certification case."

Our workplaces are no longer safe. Our members are subjected to threats, abuse and are even dying at the hands of the learners they teach. We are attending this Congress mourning the death of a young energetic teacher who was stabbed by a learner in the classroom at Ramotshere Secondary School in North West. Our communities have become brutal to our teachers and leaders are silent when we are attacked inside the school premises where we thought safety should be essential in building the nation. A society that treats teachers this way is a sick society because teachers are builders of the nation and deserve the protection from everyone. A society that keeps quiet when a student organization is calling upon learners to attack the teachers is a society in denial and complicit about the difficulties teachers are facing in their line of duty. We hope the Congress will once more resolve on the safety not only of the teachers but of police, nurses and other public servants as well.

As an affiliate in good standing, we are going to the Congress to strengthen the Federation in order for it to have authority to give guidance to affiliates and ensure that they, among others, abide by the basic principle of one sector one union in order to provide effective service to members.

A stronger COSATU, strengthens affiliates.

One country, one Federation.

ISSUED BY: SADTU Secretariat


General Secretary, Mugwena Maluleke: 082 719 5157
Deputy General Secretary, Nkosana Dolopi: 082 709 5651
Media Officer, Nomusa Cembi: 082 719 5157