City Press jobs-for-cash exposé ‘racist lies’ – Sadtu

2014-06-04 16:12

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The KwaZulu-Natal leadership of Sadtu has slammed the exposé by City Press of an alleged union jobs-for-cash racket, saying the reports were based on “lies” and were racially motivated.

The union’s provincial secretary, Mbuyiseni Mathonsi, told a press briefing today that Sadtu was considering a mass action campaign or boycotting the newspaper over the stories which, he said, were “a figment of its own imagination”.

Mathonsi made the comments after a special Sadtu provincial executive committee meeting to address the allegations and to discuss the union’s campaign to force the provincial education department to pay Grade R educators who had not received salaries since last year.

“It is our view that City Press is seriously misled or is deliberately used to carry forward a particular political agenda against Sadtu in particular and Sadtu generally. The City Press, in its desperation for sale (sic), like all profit-dependent imperialist projects, has taken to portraying our organisation as dirty, the department of education as lackeys or tail-wagged by Sadtu and the entire black education system as corrupt and therefore unreliable,” Mathonsi said.

City Press, he said, had “wanted to send a toxic and misleading message that the majority, if not all, persons promoted in higher positions within the department [most of whom are black] are not deserving of such”.

City Press and its “white leading journalist” only saw “white promotion processes” as credible.

Read: Behind the City Press Sadtu jobs-for-cash investigation

Instead, Mathonsi said City Press should investigate corruption in promotions in white schools where “principals are being parachuted from as far away as Cape Town just because they are white males and play rugby”.

Mathonsi said City Press was part of a “political agenda” to “liquidate” Sadtu, but refused to say who was behind the agenda. However, he did question why Cosatu general secretary Zwelinzima Vavi, an ally of toppled Sadtu president Thobile Ntola, had been quoted in one of the earlier exposés about the alleged racket. Sadtu in KZN has backed Ntola’s removal.

Mathonsi also accused City Press of “spreading lies” by incorrectly reporting that department of education Ugu director Mfundi Sibiya, arrested for the murder of Sadtu South Coast chairperson Nkosinathi Zondi, was a former Sadtu provincial secretary. In fact, Sibiya was a portfolio coordinator and a member of the Sadtu provincial executive committee.

Zondi, he said, had not been a “whistle-blower” but “died having taken forward one of Sadtu’s campaigns against corruption within the corridors of the department including failure by the department to follow policy on promotion processes”.

Mathonsi said Sadtu would “debate steps we will take against City Press for its lies about our organisation”.

“This can include a march or a campaign to boycott the newspaper unless it corrects the basic lies on which the story was built. We also demand that if City Press is confident on the information it has from its faceless sources, it must approach SAPS and open cases,” he said.

But Mathonsi said Sadtu would cooperate with the probe into the claims appointed by Basic Education Minister Angie Motshekga. He also called on the provincial education department to institute its own immediate probe.

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