Johannesburg - The acquittal of basic education director general Bobby Soobrayan was met with anger by the SA Democratic Teachers Union (Sadtu) on Tuesday.
“The return of Bobby to the helm of the department is nothing short of a declaration of war and we will not lie down and play dead under these circumstances,” Sadtu's national working committee said in a statement.
Earlier, education spokesman Panyaza Lesufi said Soobrayan had been found not guilty of misusing funds and signing an agreement on the department's behalf without the authority to do so.
The Sadtu national working committee said Soobrayan's disciplinary process was “clearly a sham... tailor-made to exonerate him”.
“The director general contravened basic principles of the Public Finance Management Act by signing, without any mandate, a major collective agreement and as far as we are concerned he has lost credibility and cannot be taken seriously.”
In April, Sadtu marched in Cape Town and Pretoria to demand the resignations of Soobrayan and Basic Education Minister Angie Motshekga. The following month Sadtu met Motshekga, who agreed to the union's demand for an investigation into Soobrayan's conduct.
In return, the union dropped its call for her resignation and suspended its threat to embark on a 21-day work-to-rule protest.
On Tuesday, Sadtu said it was regretful that some of its members, who were senior officials at the department, had defended Soobrayan.
“As a matter of principle, we refuse to keep people in our fold who go as low as protecting their masters at the expense of collective bargaining and quality public education. We have thus resolved to summarily terminate their memberships.”
The union's national working committee would hold a meeting to decide its response to Soobrayan's acquittal.
Lesufi said Soobrayan was on special leave during the disciplinary hearing, held in December.
“The allegations against the director general emanated from Sadtu and they were properly consulted by the prosecutor and their attorneys (were) allowed to attend the disciplinary hearing.”
Lesufi said no complaint was received after the disciplinary hearing was finalised.