NAPTOSA wishes to refute statements made by the Department of Basic Education (DBE) on the matric marking tariffs.  Over the past few days the issue of the matric marking tariffs has featured prominently in the media. Some of the reports are misleading and NAPTOSA believes that it is imperative that not only our members, but all teachers and the general public should have the facts.


The DBE is on record as saying that they called the unions to a meeting in 2011 to explain that the collective agreement on the matric tariffs signed in the ELRC, contains an error and that they could not afford the increase. That much is true, however, the DBE has also said that the unions accepted that it was a bone fide error implying that the unions were prepared to accept that the agreement is not valid.  That is not  true - the unions’ position has always been  that the agreement is valid.  Subsequent events bear testimony to that fact.


Following that meeting, the DBE and all the teacher unions, signed an addendum  (not an amendment)  to the collective agreement in December 2011 and again in December 2012, which enabled the DBE to pay matric markers the “old tariffs” with a cost of living adjustment. The addendum also stated that the collective agreement would be subjected to the interpretation procedures of the ELRC.   Do those procedures sound as if the unions accepted that the agreement  contained an error and  therefore the agreement is not valid?


In May 2012, after parties had obtained legal opinion on the status of the agreement,  the DBE declared a dispute against the unions, however before the matter went to arbitration, they withdrew the dispute and thereafter unilaterally withdrew from the collective agreement  in terms of the Labour Relations Act. The unions took the matter to the Labour Court in March 2013. The court has ruled that the matter will be heard in August 2013 to determine the status of the collective agreement.  NAPTOSA  welcomes the court’s ruling and will await the final decision of the court.  (For more information refer to National News Flash 10 of 2013)


It is also necessary to separate issues. Although NAPTOSA is part of the litigation process in the Labour Court, it is not involved with the “go-slow” (or “work-to-rule”) and the call for the resignation of the Minister and Director General of the DBE.


Members should not engage in any action not sanctioned by the National Executive Committee of NAPTOSA.  Our view is that the matter is set down to be resolved by the courts.