Following numerous defamatory statements and utterances made by leaders of the South African Liberated Public Service Workers' Union (SALIPSWU), Thobile Ntola and Mbuyiseni Mathonsi against the South African Democratic Teachers' Union (SADTU) and certain of its leaders, SADTU and the affected leaders have initiated legal proceedings in both the Durban and Pretoria High Courts to sue for damages arising out of these reckless and defamatory statements.
Ntola and Mathonsi, former leaders of SADTU who are now leaders of SALIPSWU seem to have decided to use their positions in SALIPSWU to champion their own personal vengeance against SADTU and certain of its leaders. Ntola, the former President of SADTU was expelled from SADTU owing to misconduct. He appears hell-bent together with Mathonsi to use vilification and slander to settle scores with SADTU and its leaders.
In total, SADTU and the affected leaders are suing SALIPSWU, Ntola and Mathonsi for over R15 million. It is regrettable that instead of championing the cause and unity of workers, Ntola and Mathonsi are rather using a workers' union for self-interest. Ntola and Mathonsi are well aware that the defamatory statements they have been making and continue to make were investigated and found to have no substance but persist with these allegations.
As far back as 2016, allegations made that the Provincial Secretary of KwaZulu Natal did not have qualifications were fully investigated by the South African Police Service and found to have no merit. The same allegations were repeated in 2018 and the South African Council of Educators has again found that the allegations have no merit.
Ntola and Mathonsi are also fully aware that neither the President of SADTU, Magope Maphila nor the Vice President for Education, Veronica Hofmeester have received any payments from SACE as they claim. Their persistence with these allegations are simply calculated to assassinate their characters and cast aspersions on them. The allegations against Walter Hlaise, the Mpumalanga Provincial Secretary are the worst form of vilification one has ever come across. It is sad that the supposed trade union leaders can stoop to this very low level.
It is regrettable that the few members of SALIPSWU will have their hard earned subscriptions not being used for a purpose of servicing them but to defend reckless leaders who do not have their members' interest at heart. The actions and conduct of Ntola and Mathonsi will collapse SALIPSWU and leave these members without a union. Whilst SADTU encourages and upholds free speech, it will not fold its arms when this is being abused.
SADTU has no choice but to take decisive action to protect itself against these unwarranted attacks.
By taking SALIPSWU, Ntola and Mathonsi to court, SADTU and its leaders are affording them an opportunity, once and for all, to provide the hard evidence of their allegations or face the consequences. It will be regrettable if SALIPSWU were to fold as a result of the recklessness of its leaders. With the benefit of hindsight, the expulsion of Ntola reaffirms the correctness of the decision of the National Executive Committee.