Sadtu vs Sadtu heads for Joburg

2014-04-24 16:57

Members of the SA Democratic Teachers Union (Sadtu) in the Eastern Cape, the Free State and North West are preparing to revolt against their national leaders.

Tomorrow, they will descend on the union’s head offices in central Joburg to submit a list of grievances, and also declare a vote of no confidence in secretary Mugwena Maluleke and the entire national executive committee (NEC).

Among others, these provinces are aggrieved that:

» Maluleke allegedly used the union’s funds to back Cosatu’s court battles against its secretary Zwelinzima Vavi without any mandate;

» The union allegedly doctored minutes of meetings to reflect that its suspended president, Thobile Ntola, should be the only one probed when the Sadtu NEC had decided that all members of the National Working Committee’s relationships with book publishers should be investigated.

This followed allegations that Sadtu’s senior officials were being used to fight proxy wars between the department of basic education and EduSolutions.

EduSolutions is the company accused of bungling the R320 million tender to deliver textbooks in Limpopo in 2012.

» Sadtu’s use of legal firm Cheadle Thompson to probe Ntola is unfair as the company has been providing legal services to the union since it was founded.

Moreover, Phillip Masilo, who is special advisor to Public Works Minister Thulas Nxesi, is one of Cheadle Thompson’s employees in the case.

Nxesi is the immediate past secretary of Sadtu and supports the removal of Ntola from Sadtu.

» Ahead of Ntola’s disciplinary hearing two weeks ago, Maluleke allegedly sent a text message to Sadtu members, mobilising them to come and mock Ntola.

Andile Mtirara, a member from the Eastern Cape who is helping to organise the march, said: “We can’t fold our arms while the president is being persecuted. We have notified the NEC that we are coming on the 25th.”

Flora Mashita, secretary of the Motlanthe Mmekwa region in North West, said: “We are expecting seven buses from the province. We have informed the national office. We are not backing off. These guys don’t take us seriously.”

About 1 000 people are expected to attend the march from the Free State.

Suspended deputy secretary Jihad Seonya said: “We are declaring a vote of no confidence against them. We have seen an unprecedented decline of the union under their watch.”

He said he was suspended for attending a meeting that was attended by Ntola and Vavi.

However, Sadtu’s deputy secretary Nkosana Dolopi said the grievances were unfounded and false.

“I don’t know about the march. I have not been informed about it.”

Meanwhile, a confidential Public Service Commission report, in the possession of City Press, has cleared former Basic Education Director General Bobby Soobrayan of any wrongdoing in the Limpopo textbook scandal.

In August 2012, President Jacob Zuma appointed a team to probe the non-delivery of textbooks in Limpopo.

This was after pupils in Limpopo were forced to go without textbooks for the first six months of 2012.

Zuma’s team recommended that Soobrayan’s role in the delays be investigated.

The Public Service Commission, which was tasked with that investigation, found that Soobrayan’s conduct was above board at all times.

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