SAPTU Newsletter September 2016

Student fees increase 2017

The Federation of Unions of South Africa (FEDUSA) – to which SAPTU is affiliated – remains cautiously optimistic after the announcement on 19 September by Minister Blade Nzimande, on recommendation by the Fees Commission, that an 8% increase in student fees will be applied for the 2017 academic year. FEDUSA welcomes Government’s commitment to finding a balanced approach to the volatile situation, to ensure that stability and world-class tertiary education prevail, said Dennis George, FEDUSA General Secretary. Moreover, FEDUSA applauds the added measures extended to support children of all poor, working and middle class families with a household income of up to R600 000 per annum including the so-called “missing middle” who will experience no fee increase in 2017.

FEDUSA together with its Education Sector partners, SAPTU, NTEU, TENUSA and SAOU are satisfied that academically deserving, but financially needy students will be fully subsidized. It is unacceptable that any student should be excluded from quality higher education due to their economic circumstances. Students from poor families should be supported, as this approach would assist in making higher education more inclusive, argued George.

“Whilst FEDUSA noted with serious concern that the Tertiary Education Sector is in the throes of a funding crisis, the federation congratulates the Commission for applying collective wisdom and taking due cognizance of recommendations by our affiliated unions who have participated in the hearings during this time. Although FEDUSA believes that the recommendation is a reasonable above inflation-linked option, the federation cautions the Department of Higher Education and Training and the Council for Higher Education against unilaterally prescribing the percentage of wage increases for 2017, but not taking into account the autonomy of universities”, emphasized George.

FEDUSA remains mindful that even with this announcement, many universities will still face financial challenges.

“To this end, we call upon the Fees Commission to expedite its findings and initial recommendation report before the end of the current year. The federation outrightly rejects any insinuations and statements about the retrenchment of university staff at all levels, both academic and support-related. Instead, FEDUSA encourages all university councils and management structures to openly engage with unions as critical stakeholders, who are legally obligated to negotiate with unions as enshrined in the Labour Relations Act, 195 and respective collective agreements”, added George.

FEDUSA and its affiliates in Higher Education remain committed to achieving a quality higher education system involving both university institutions and TVET colleges that will serve all sectors of society – students, lecturers, researches and ultimately the greater South African state at large.

Moreover, the federation is cognizant that further discussions must be expedited under the auspices of the Presidential Commission to ensure that a constructive solution is crafted beyond 2017, to avert further downgrades of our institutions, and focus on restoring world class tertiary education with a robust research system to resolve the key skills deficits of the 21st century.

SAPTU raised their concern of actions by students to demolish University facilities and buildings.

These actions will destroy the very foundation of quality higher education in South Africa and must be strongly condemned.

FEDUSA National Congress

FEDUSA will be holding its 6 th National Congress on 17 and 18 November 2016 in Johannesburg. The theme for the congress is “Decent work and decent life for all”. Within this theme, panel discussions will focus on;

 Social justice at the heart of policies to strengthen sustainable enterprises for inclusive growth and job creation;

 The role of the public sector in promoting decent work through the provision of quality education, health and municipal services; and

 The role of the private sector in promoting decent work learnerships, internships and apprenticeships for young people and entrepeneurship through industrialisation.

Members of SAPTU’s Executive and Management Committees will attend the Congress.

Legal Aid SA Management cancels yet another meeting Legal Aids SA’s management is continuing to duck and dive meeting with SAPTU as per the Recognition agreement regulating meetings on a bi-monthly basis. A third meeting has been cancelled. A meeting has now been scheduled for 4 October to discuss serious and urgent matters

submitted by SAPTU’s Legal Aid members. This cavalier treatment of SAPTU, the only union recognised by Legal Aid SA, will raise eyebrows in any environment, and points to something out of the ordinary brewing.

Following the cancellation of the third meeting, Legal AIDS SA’s management wrote to SAPTU regarding the financial outlook in the medium term of government departments and public entities.

In their letter they point out that National Treasury issued the 2017 MTEF in June 2016, indicating that no additional resources will be available for allocation. Accordingly, entities will have to function within the current aggregate expenditure limit. The National Treasury macro increase for 2017/2018 is indicated at 4,8% (while CPI is 6,2% and cost of living 7,2%, giving a shortfall of 2,4%). The shortfall in grant allocation to Legal AID SA over the next three years is estimated at R202 million. This matter will be discussed at the meeting with SAPTU and Legal AID SA’s management.

The above matter as well as the issues will be discussed with Legal Aid Management on 4 October 2016.

SAPTU Productivity SA Annual Meeting 30 September 2016

SAPTU will attend Productivity SA Annual General Meeting on 30 September 2016. The mission of Productivity SA is to improve Productivity SA by diagnosing, advising, implementing monitoring and evaluating solutions aimed at improving South Africa's sustainable growth, development and employment through increased competitiveness.

SAPTU’s Stellenbosch office

SAPTU’s Stellenbosch Office are in the process of planning for our members in the Agricultural Sector with the assistance of Old Mutual to discuss, inter, alia, matters such as:

(i) Victimisation of women in the workplace;

(ii) The role of shopstewards in the workplace;

(iii) Financial Wellness Empowerment.