Magope Maphila (foreground), deputy president of the SA Democratic Teachers' Union attends their national general council at a Kempton Park hotel in eastern Johannesburg on Friday, 25 October 2013. The decision to suspend Sadtu president Thobile Ntola was not made lightly, Maphila said on Friday. Picture: Werner Beukes/SAPA

Durban - The only way transformation in education could happen quickly was if South African Democratic Teachers’ Union (Sadtu) members occupied all top jobs in the Basic Education Department and schools.

Addressing more than 300 Sadtu delegates at the union’s provincial elective congress in Durban on Wednesday, provincial chairman Mabutho Sithole said its members understood transformation.

“The Department of Basic Education should be occupied by progressive workers who are Sadtu members. Let us be aggressive like we have never been before,” he said.

Sadtu members were not surprised by allegations that the union was involved in selling senior positions, he said. Such allegations were aimed at destroying the union’s push for transformation.

Sithole told teachers to make sure they were in their classrooms and teaching every day.

“The only time teachers should not be in school is when they have been called to a meeting by Sadtu,” he said.

When asked why the union chose to hold its congress in school time, he said teachers would “use their skills” to catch up their work.

Teachers who had sexual relationships with pupils would not be accepted in the union, Sithole said.

Outcomes-based education had been “the best curriculum” but was set aside because “confused” Professor Jonathan Jansen (vice-chancellor and rector of the University of the Free State) had criticised it.

“Jansen made the country confused so they would get rid of it (outcomes-based education),” he said.

Reacting to Sithole’s call for Sadtu to occupy all senior education posts, National Teachers Union (Natu) deputy president Allen Thompson said his union was not opposed to union members occupying senior positions.

However, he was worried about Sadtu being linked to selling senior posts.

“We need a person who does not compromise teaching ethics because teachers’ reputations have already been muddied because of all the shenanigans linked to the promotion of incompetent people who belong to certain political parties or unions.

“Natu will fight until the last drop of blood to ensure that only competent people occupy senior positions,” he said.

Anthony Pierce of the National Professional Teachers’ Organisation of South Africa (Naptosa) said appointing members of one union to all senior positions was impossible if correct procedure was followed.

“We all want to ensure, as unions, that we are able to get every member into a promotion post.

“However, that is impossible because there are processes that need to be followed. Once a Naptosa member has applied, his or her future depends on his or her ability in forwarding a good CV and how the interview goes.

“The appointment is determined by the governing body and the Education Department,” he said.

The Mercury