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29 Jul 2008 09:00
Willie Madisha has been fired as president of the South African Democratic Teachers’ Union (Sadtu) and is forbidden from holding office for the next 10 years, Sadtu said on Tuesday.
“The NEC [national executive committee] decided to accept the recommendations of the disciplinary committee, which were to remove the president,” said the union’s Jon Lewis.
He was found guilty of unprofessional conduct and/or misconduct for talking to the media about an alleged R500 000 donation to South African Communist Party (SACP) secretary general Blade Nzimande, and for disobeying a Sadtu and Congress of South African Trade Unions (Cosatu) resolution to support Jacob Zuma’s candidacy for African National Congress president.
The union said he violated the conditions of suspension (in December 2007) by continuing to address union structures and refused to hand over the union’s vehicle, petrol card and cellphone.
His sacking came after the union’s NEC met on Monday to discuss the recommendations of a disciplinary committee.
“The committee recommends that Madisha be dismissed as the president of Sadtu with immediate effect,” a Sadtu statement read.
Madisha, who was elected president in 1996, will not be allowed to hold leadership positions for all structures of Sadtu for 10 years. Although he may remain a member, he will not be able to represent anybody in the 235 000-member union for 10 years.
He was also ordered to hand over all union assets and vacate the union flat.
Deputy president Thobile Ntola was appointed acting president.
Last year businessman Charles Modise asked to police to find out what happened to a donation of R500 000 he said he had given to the SACP.
This year Madisha was expelled from the SACP and as president of Cosatu over the same issues.
Madisha was immediately available for comment.
His lawyer, Julian Meltz, said he had spoken to Madisha on Tuesday and he was “obviously upset”.
He and Madisha will meet later on Tuesday to decide how to proceed with court applications they have already launched to challenge the moves against him.
He wants the Equality Court to find that he has been discriminated against on the basis of his political affiliation to President Thabo Mbeki.
At the time of Madisha’s suspension, the ANC was about to go into an elective conference split in its support for Zuma and Mbeki, who was ANC president.
Meltz said that Madisha’s Equality Court application was in line with the Constitution, which allows freedom of expression and association.
A court will also have to decide on a bid to force Madisha to return the Sadtu car, which he intends to oppose on the grounds that the meeting that suspended him was not quorate.—Sapa
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