Teach Sadtu a lesson
The story of how officials from teachers’ union Sadtu were selling posts to principals, teachers and senior education staff did not hit the headlines for at least 15 years.
During this time, officials and office bearers of one of the country’s most powerful unions colluded with corrupt and beholden education department officials to place candidates who paid bribes in plum posts.
They did so without a thought for which candidate was best for the job, or how the children who were to be taught by these bringers of bribes would suffer as a result.
How, we ask, did our government allow things to deteriorate to this point for all that time?
This week, Basic Education Minister Angie Motshekga addressed a press conference on the outcomes of an investigation she had launched into the jobs-for-cash scam that City Press first exposed about 18 months ago.
The provisional report, authored by Professor John Volmink, who Motshekga appointed to lead the investigation, provides a hint as to why South Africa’s parents and their children get little bang for the R203 billion basic education buck, which is, by far, the highest in Africa. The answer lies with Sadtu. In a desperate attempt to kill off this mafia and the deaths related to it, Motshekga is proposing to freeze vacant principal positions until the department can find a permanent solution to the problem.
This will arguably be the battle of her political life – to curtail the power of the 245 000-member union.
After all, it was one of the forces that brought President Jacob Zuma to power, helped to ensure his re-election as ANC president in Mangaung, and played a pivotal role in ousting Zwelinzima Vavi and metalworkers’ union Numsa from Cosatu.
To break the stranglehold that Sadtu has on education jobs in our country, Motshekga will need the help and support of Zuma and her Cabinet colleagues. She will also need the vigilance of honest educators, school governing bodies and the parents of South Africa.
We need to put the power back where it belongs – with the minister, MECs and duly authorised officials. Sadtu must stop the denialism about the deep rot in its membership. If it continues to put its head in the sand, it will officially become a mafia.