Equal Education (EE) joins the Secretariat of the South African Democratic Teachers Union (SADTU) in condemning the racist comments by Moss Senye, the Chairperson of the Johannesburg Central Region of SADTU. EE welcomes the Secretariat’s statement that racism has no place in SADTU. We know that the vast majority of SADTU members, and the union itself, are committed to non-racialism and to the daily struggle for improvement of education in South Africa.
Senye is reported to have accused Gauteng MEC for Education Barbara Creecy of Satanism and to have said, “At no stage should you be friends with white people, they will satanise you.” These comments are deeply racist, amount to hate-speech, and have no place in our democracy.
Racist attacks like these that are made by political and union leaders are dangerous to the fibre of our society. Many South Africans, from all racial groups, fought against racism and for political freedom of black people in this country. Nelson Mandela, like many political activists, dedicated his life to create a non-racial society that respects people’s freedoms and the Constitution. Certain populists are becoming a new breed of racists. They are disguised as “part of the working class”, but they are hooligans, and they do more to destroy than to unite the structures of civil society and the working class. These racists must be condemned. We urge COSATU to support SADTU in distancing itself from this racist hooliganism.
Such comments contradict the values of SADTU, as a progressive teachers union. According to section 5 of the SADTU Constitution:
“The aim of the Union shall be to unite teachers and educationalists and to work for a non-racial, non-sexist, just and democratic system of education in a free and democratic South Africa. It shall observe and act in accordance with the spirit and principle of democracy in all the Union’s activities.”
These principles were reaffirmed in resolutions taken at SADTU’s 7th National Congress held in 2010. In particular, the union committed itself to “continue to campaign for the Freedom Charter goals”. The Freedom Charter begins with the principle that South Africa belongs to all who live in it.
Equal Education reaffirms the non-racialism of the Freedom Charter and the trade union movement in condemning the racist comments of Moss Senye.
Head of Policy, Communications & Research, EQUAL EDUCATION
072 342 7747 / 082 444 6674