Sadtu to juggle ANC campaigning, strike

2014-02-18 14:17

The South African Democratic Teachers’ Union (Sadtu) says it “can go on strike but at the very same time, mobilise for overwhelming victory for the ANC”.

The union announced it would serve notice for a strike today and would then proceed with balloting its members for support of the strike.

Their central gripe, outlined by Sadtu general secretary Mugwena Maluleke at a press conference today, is a discrepancy between the pay progression for teachers and other public servants.

But it is also clear that the union has taken a very dim view of what it called basic education director-general Bobby Soobrayan’s “sham of a disciplinary process [which was] tailor-made to exonerate him”.

Soobrayan was placed on special leave last year to prepare for a disciplinary hearing after a Public Protector report over his role in the Limpopo textbooks crisis.

Read: Bobby Soobrayan home for 7 months at taxpayers’ expense

The union has linked the department’s failure to resolve the pay progression disparity to Soobrayan, who, it says, views collective bargaining as nothing more than an “inconvenience”.

But the union has also made it clear that it will not head in the same direction as Numsa, which will not mobilise support for the ANC ahead of elections.

Nkosana Dolopi, deputy general secretary of Sadtu, said: “We support the ANC, we will vote for the ANC and are mobilising for an overwhelming majority for the ANC and support for the presidency of President Jacob Zuma.”

Asked if this was not a political manoeuvre so close to the May 7 elections, Dolopi said it was purely a labour matter.

“We can strike but, at the same time, mobilise for an overwhelming victory for the ANC.”

The union also had harsh words for members in its Eastern Cape structures who had called for the suspensions of Cosatu general secretary Zwelinzima Vavi and Sadtu president Thobile Ntola, a Vavi ally, to be lifted.

Maluleke said: “Our patience is not unlimited and at the appropriate time, we will act decisively against these divisive elements.”

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