South Africa’s biggest teachers’ union, Sadtu, has hit out at its detractors who have criticised it for having invited President Cyril Ramaphosa to the union’s 30th anniversary virtual celebration last week.
“We don’t explain our decisions to anyone, whether such persons have anointed themselves as the only revolutionaries alive on earth. Our national congress, which is composed of the owners of the union being the members, has authority to take policy decisions and, in between congresses, that responsibility is exercised by the NEC [national executive committee],” it said.
“We are an autonomous and independent organisation and we are not owned by any organisation. Our affiliation to Cosatu doesn’t make our union a small Cosatu and the federation’s constitution is very clear to that effect.”
The criticism came on the back of Cosatu this week taking to the streets and protesting against job losses and corruption.
Ramaphosa urged Sadtu members to play a decisive role in the development and implementation of a comprehensive strategy to eradicate violence in our schools.
“We are working tirelessly to resolve problems in our schools with regard to infrastructure, namely – sanitation, water, electricity, proper and safe classrooms, as well as access to adequate learning materials,” Ramaphosa said at the event.
“We must work together to rid our schools of violence that threatens the safety, not only of learners, but also of our educators. Many of them have been subjected to violence, learners have also been subjected to violence and we must work together to eradicate violence in our schools.”
Last month, the head of the Department of Basic Education told the basic education portfolio committee that more than 200 teachers, pupils and non-teachers had succumbed to the COVID-19 pandemic.