Home South African Teachers union hits back at Malema over election staff remark

Teachers union hits back at Malema over election staff remark

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The SA Democratic Teachers Union has hit back at EFF leader Julius Malema in their tit-for-tat battle regarding who should be appointed as election staff next year.

EFF leader Julius Malema. File picture: Timothy Bernard, Independent Newspapers

THE SA Democratic Teachers Union (Sadtu) has hit back at EFF leader Julius Malema in their tit-for-tat battle regarding who should be appointed as election staff next year.

Sadtu wants Malema to apologise for statements he made that Sadtu members would compromise the elections in favour of the ruling ANC.

Elections in South Africa are organised by the Electoral Commission of SA (IEC), which often uses schools, community centres and other public amenities as election venues.

School principals, school management team members, and/or teachers, including those aligned with Sadtu, are often appointed to temporary roles at voting stations, such as presiding officers and other roles.

Political parties are allowed to appoint their party agents to oversee the process and ensure no voter fraud takes place. Malema has called on EFF members to ensure there is a party agent at every voting station in the country.

“We must make sure that staff members of the IEC are not Sadtu members because Cosatu said it’s going to support the ANC, and Sadtu is an affiliate of Cosatu,” he said.

Malema was speaking at the Ground Forces Forum, where he said that Cosatu had declared its support for the ANC, and Sadtu is its affiliate.

Sadtu condemned the statements and threats by Malema.

Sadtu said remarks made by Malema demonstrated an aggravated level of ignorance of the rights and responsibilities of South Africans in supporting constitutional democracy.

According to Sadtu, Malema’s statement bordered on hate speech, unfair discrimination, and an incitement to harm such persons.

It added that the statements were to frustrate the efforts of the IEC to conduct a free and fair election, as has been the case since the dawn of democracy.

However, the union said Malema’s speech did not come as a surprise, given the recent wholesale expulsion of the EFF members for allegedly failing to organise buses to its 10th anniversary celebrations.

“If a party that purports to champion the cause of the working class is so ignorant and anti-worker, one must wonder what the implications will be should this party secure a majority vote.

“The rights of workers will be trampled upon in the same or worse ways as members of this political party whose rights are at the whim of the party leader,” the union said.

It said only an organisation that has no regard for rights can act in that manner.

According to Sadtu, the EFF was grappling with understanding the fundamentals of constitutional democracy, electoral laws, and procedures in South Africa.

“EFF appears unable to distinguish between a trade union and a political party. Neither Cosatu nor Sadtu are political parties. The law only prohibits persons who hold senior positions in political parties from being appointed as election officials,” it explained.

Sadtu clarified that trade union members have a right by law to be appointed as election officers if they meet the requirements.

It further encouraged its members and other trade unions to avail themselves to serve their nation as election officers and to ensure free and fair elections.

Furthermore, Sadtu said it will not hesitate to take appropriate action to protect its members against this otherwise unlawful and intimidatory conduct.

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