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Johannesburg - A special national executive committee of the SA Democratic Teachers Union has blasted its Eastern Cape structures for “destabilising the union” and told it to explain why the provincial executive should not be suspended.
An internal memorandum sent to all structures in the Eastern Cape, which Independent Newspapers has seen, accuses the province of abusing union resources and going so far as to request members fund “this very agenda”.
At issue appear plans by union members from the Eastern Cape to march on Sadtu’s national office in Joburg, Matthew Goniwe House, protesting the recent dismissal of the union’s president, Thobile Ntola.
Ntola was suspended in August last year, after he allowed Cosatu general secretary Zwelinzima Vavi, who suspended at the time, to address Sadtu members in the Eastern Cape.
But last month the union also alleged he was also guilty of among others, living in a R3.5-million house paid for by one its service providers after he threatened to dump them.
He was also accused of demanding cars from another union service provider.
Although the allegations are serious, the union did not plan to lay criminal charges against its axed president saying it would still decide on the way forward.
However, the investigation into the debacle would be ongoing, Maluleke told Independent Newspapers last month.
Sadtu already faces a public relations nightmare after it was revealed in the media that teachers and principals were paying to get posts.
President Jacob Zuma had since ordered a commission of enquiry into the matter.
In the letter to Eastern Cape structures dated May 23, general secretary Mugwena Maluleke says the intention of a march protesting Ntola’s dismissal is “clearly to destabilise and divide our organisation”.
As a result a special NEC was convened on Wednesday in Kempton Park with all provinces “represented” to address the “internal challenges” facing the union.
Maluleke writes: “The union has a constitution and internal processes that allow all members to raise concerns on any matter through the appropriate structures and it must be made clear that marching to the national office is not one of them.”
“A special NEC has mandated the national working committee to do everything in its power to ensure that no member or structure marches to the national office for whatever reason,” he says.
Alleging that “coordinating structures” from the Eastern Cape had requested members to “pay a levy” to fund the march, Maluleke accused these of “swind(ling) members out of their hard earned money”.
In another letter, to Eastern Cape provincial secretary, Mncekeleli Ndongeni dated May 27, Maluleke notes the “relentless defiance” of the province’s secretariat.
The defiance was “elevated when the erstwhile President Ntola was suspended”, the letter says.
Further, the province did not implement the decisions of the Sadtu NEC and national general councils on the suspensions of Ntola and general secretary, Zwelinzima Vavi, it notes.
This included allowing Ntola to address structures while suspended, “procuring paraphernalia in his name and calling for his reinstatement” as well as that of the then-suspended Vavi, in contravention of Sadtu’s NEC decisions.
“There is a clear trend of members’ mobilisation through SMS’s to embarrass the national leaders when (they) are on provincial visits,” Maluleke says.
“This is proven by the leadership having to endure public ridicule by being mocked, embarrassed and insulted.”
It continues that the province insisted on its programme of action taking place on its own terms.
“This is a glaring sign of disrespect towards the most senior structure of the union, after the national congress. To add salt to the injury there is a concerted non-attendance of NEC meetings,” it says.
Calls to Ndongeni were not returned and he did not respond to an SMS.