Saptu fixed on Stellies’ implementation of recommendations

The South African Parastatal and Tertiary Institutes Union (Saptu) has set its eyes on Stellenbosch University’s plans to implement the recommendations of retired judge Sisi Khampepe’s report.

Reiterating its stance in a statement on Wednesday, the union, which represents various employees in semi-government institutions, said it stands against discrimination and supports change and transformation.

It further said it will follow “with interest” all the steps taken by Stellenbosch University in this regard, including the perusal of all new policies and protocols.

Advocate Ben van der Walt, Saptu general secretary, said: “Even though we are not against change, Saptu as a union will, however, in the interest of our members peruse all new policies, protocols and amendments to ensure that no new form of discrimination which accords with neither the constitution of South Africa, nor fair labour practice in terms of our labour laws will be implemented against the interests of our members.”

According to Van der Walt, Saptu is specifically interested in documents that will need to be authorised by its members, noting that it will support them [union members] if they decide to reject the recommendations.

“Saptu is specifically interested in the specifications of the document that must be accepted and signed by lecturers such as: participation in training for all members of staff relating to discrimination and transformation; and participation in training must be a component of all staff members’ performance evaluations.

“As the above is compulsory, a recommendation by the report, if not accepted as such by Saptu members, then Saptu will assist them in any disputes in the matter.

“We also request to be a part of the creation of the transformation charter, as we represent the significant interests of a substantial number of employees in the workplace at Stellenbosch university.”

Khampepe found that the university is fraught with a toxic culture caused by ancient racial scars and beliefs. In the report, she made recommendations regarding the toxic culture and the university’s language policies, notwithstanding the need for greater change in leadership.

She also suggested that the university revise its language policy to eliminate any chance of language exclusion through the preference for Afrikaans.

Upon receipt of the report, the university noted that black students and employees were uncomfortable at the institution and said it will study the recommendations further before acting on them.

However, during a hybrid session where the report was unpacked, the university’s professor of education, Jonathan Jansen, said the institution is having issues around racism because it is changing, and not because it is “untransformed”.

“The more you push transformation as university leadership, the more the pushback becomes dramatic,” Jansen said.

Also read: Khampepe report ‘a sobering moment’ for Stellenbosch University

Follow @SundayWorldZA on Twitter and @sundayworldza on Instagram, or like our Facebook Page, Sunday World, by clicking here for the latest breaking news in South Africa. To Subscribe to Sunday World, click here.

Latest News