Sadtu backs down from strike but goes to court

The South African Democratic Teachers’ Union (Sadtu) has backed down, for the moment, from its threat to take 53 000 Eastern Cape teachers on strike during the current matric exams. But tensions remain high after it lodged a court application against the province’s education department.

At issue in the action the union has launched in the Bhisho High Court is the 64 752 teachers the Eastern Cape education department has budgeted for in 2012. This — which is one of the unresolved conflicts Sadtu had cited in its strike threats — is far too low.

“There is no strike in sight at the moment — we are focusing on court action now,” Sadtu’s provincial chairperson, George Lukwe, told the Mail & Guardian on Tuesday. “We filed an application at the Bhisho High Court on Thursday last week to set aside the 2012 post-provisioning.”

The union had set last Friday as its deadline for the provincial education department and national department of basic education to accept its demands.

But Sadtu can still ‘take action’
Despite backing off for now, the union could still “take action”, said Sadtu provincial secretary Mncekeleli Ndongeni. If the provincial department continued to “provoke” its members by continuing with planning based on the disputed 2012 post-provisioning numbers, then the union would be forced to “act”. He did not specify what form that might take.

In March this year the national department of basic education invoked section 100 of the Constitution and put the provincial education department under administration. Two weeks ago, Sadtu marched to the Eastern Cape premier’s office in Bhisho and handed over a memorandum of demands that included the removal of Modidima Mannya, the head of the Eastern Cape’s crisis-ridden education department.

The memorandum also demanded that more than 4 000 temporary teachers whose contracts were terminated last year be reinstated and that the department put aside its decision on how many teachers’ posts it would fund next year.

“The department did not follow correct processes [in deciding on the number of posts for next year] and the [provincial education minister] did not consult with unions,” Ndongeni said this week.

In letters to Mannya and provincial education minister Mandla Makupula on Monday, Sadtu’s attorney requested them in the light of the union’s court action to take no further steps regarding the 2012 posts.

“Pending the outcome of these proceedings, we would respectfully suggest that no further steps should be taken to rely on the 2012 post establishment. Please confirm that you will act accordingly, failing which our client will be obliged to precipitate matters to have the matter enrolled urgently,” the letters stated.

Eastern Cape education department spokesperson, Loyiso Pulumani, said the department was aware of the court action but could not provide further details.

These are unprecedented times, and the role of media to tell and record the story of South Africa as it develops is more important than ever. But it comes at a cost. Advertisers are cancelling campaigns, and our live events have come to an abrupt halt. Our income has been slashed.

The Mail & Guardian is a proud news publisher with roots stretching back 35 years. We’ve survived thanks to the support of our readers, we will need you to help us get through this.

To help us ensure another 35 future years of fiercely independent journalism, please subscribe.

Advertisting

Not a sweet deal, Mister

Mister Sweet workers say they will not risk their health, and the lives of others, to continue producing and packaging confectionaries

Covid-19 grounds Nigeria’s medical tourists

The country’s elites, including the president, travelled abroad for treatment but now they must use the country’s neglected health system

Nehawu launches urgent court bid over protective gear for health...

The health workers’ union says the government has rebuffed its attempts to meet about mitigating risks to workers

Stay at home, Cyril said. But what about the homeless?

In Tshwane, forcing homeless people off the street resulted in chaos and the abuse of a vulnerable population. In Durban, a smooth, well-planned operation fared far better

Press Releases

Everyone’s talking about it. Even Kentucky

Earlier this year South African fried chicken fast-food chain, Chicken Licken®, launched a campaign for their wallet-friendly EasyBucks® meals, based on the idea of ‘Everyone’s talking about it.’

New energy mix on the cards

REI4P already has and will continue to yield thousands of employment opportunities

The online value of executive education in a Covid-19 world

Executive education courses further develop the skills of leaders in the workplace

Sisa Ntshona urges everyone to stay home, and consider travelling later

Sisa Ntshona has urged everyone to limit their movements in line with government’s request

SAB Zenzele’s special AGM postponed until further notice

An arrangement has been announced for shareholders and retailers to receive a 77.5% cash payout

20th Edition of the National Teaching Awards

Teachers are seldom recognised but they are indispensable to the country's education system

Awards affirm the vital work that teachers do

Government is committed to empowering South Africa’s teachers with skills, knowledge and techniques for a changing world