SADTU’s call to ban Helen Zille unconstitutional and undemocratic
Dr Wilmot James, Shadow Minister of Basic Education
28 June 2011
The South African Democratic Trade Union (SADTU) has forgotten that we live in a democracy today. To withhold Western Cape Premier Helen Zille’s right to attend and speak at the forthcoming conference of Education International (EI) is an undemocratic act of considerable proportions. Premier Zille was invited to attend by the President of EI but now the local hosts – SADTU – are opposinbag her presence at what they call ‘the workers parliament’.
SADTU’s reaction to Premier Zille’s attendance says a great deal about a union that has ‘democratic’ in its name. The last time individuals were banned from attending and speaking at conferences was under apartheid. Preventing individuals who differed from the ruling regime from speaking or being heard was one of mainstays of the pre-democratic authoritarian past.
SADTU’s reaction reveals its Stalinist slip, and is yet another example of the ‘rising thuggery’ in the Tripartite Alliance that the late Professor Kader Asmal warned against.