Sadtu Eastern Cape awaits suspension

2014-06-06 13:39

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The SA Democratic Teacher’s Union (Sadtu) in the Eastern Cape believes its suspension is a foregone conclusion, but will nevertheless respond to its national office today, giving reasons why it should not be suspended.

This comes after the national office wrote a scathing letter to the provincial structure early this week, demanding reasons why they should not suspend it.

Mncekeleli Ndongeni, Sadtu provincial secretary, told City Press today they had been deliberating on how to respond since receiving the letter from union general secretary Mugwena Maluleke on Monday.

“We are in the process of finalising our response to them explaining why we should not be suspended. We met yesterday [Thursday] to finalise the response which will be sent to the national office today [Friday],” Ndongeni said.

He was not willing to disclose the contents of the response at this stage.

“We can’t speak about the response to the media without the national office having received it first and responding to it thereafter.”

“We, however, suspect that this is just a formality and that they will go on with their action as envisaged in the letter, but we have to respond and explain ourselves,” he said.

Ndongeni also said their stance on the suspension and subsequent dismissal of Sadtu president Thobile Ntola – which is at the root of the animosity between the provincial structure and the national office counterparts – does not change despite the new developments.

“We still want Ntola to be reinstated. We are not going to change on that position no matter what. We cannot be intimidated or bullied to do so,” Ndongeni said.

In the letter in which the provincial structure is asked to explain why it should not be suspended, which City Press has seen, the national officers accuse the provincial structure of defying them since they were voted into office three years ago.

The provincial structure is also criticised for defying national executive committee (NEC) decisions on the suspensions of Ntola and Cosatu boss Zwelinzima Vavi by giving platforms to the two leaders when they were suspended.

Ntola was suspended after allowing Vavi to speak at a Sadtu meeting in Port Elizabeth last year where he said union members had accepted his apology for having sex with a junior Cosatu worker at the office.

Vavi has since been reinstated as the federation’s general secretary while Ntola finds himself in the political wilderness after he was expelled last month.

“… the Eastern Cape was not implementing the decisions of the NEC and the NGC [national general council], e.g. political school, labour law, Letsema, 2013 work to rule in the education sector, NEC and NGC decisions on suspension of the erstwhile president of the union Thobile Ntola and Cosatu general secretary Zwelinzima Vavi,” the letter read in part.

The letter also speaks of the disrespect and public ridicule the national leaders have to endure when they visit the province.

“There is a clear trend of members mobilising through SMSes to embarrass the national leaders when [they] are on provincial visits. This is proven by the leadership having to endure public ridicule by being mocked, embarrassed and insulted,” said Maluleke in the letter.

He gave the provincial entity seven days to respond to why it should not be suspended.

“In view of the aforesaid, the following decision has been taken and with the secretariat tasked to communicate it to the province and report to the NEC, namely, that Sadtu Eastern Cape province, through the provincial working committee, must explain to the NEC why the entire PEC should not be suspended,” Maluleke said.

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