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By Nicholas Zaal

Digital Journalist

‘Holomisa knows he is telling a lie’ – Sadtu responds to UDM leader on election rigging

The union says UDM has only a slim chance of winning a seat in parliament and is "now creating excuses for its looming demise".

The South African Democratic Teachers’ Union (Sadtu) has called UDM leader Bantu Holomisa’s tweet about the Electoral Commission of South Africa (IEC) using the union to run the country’s elections, ‘a lie’.

The union was on Thursday responding to what it called “the unscrupulous campaign by some political parties to use the union to tarnish the integrity” of the IEC.

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On Wednesday, Holomisa tweeted a photo of two vehicles with the branding ‘Sadtu votes ANC’, accompanying the text “The IEC is using this Union to run this country’s elections, an affiliate of Cosatu, which is in Alliance with the ANC. This time in our meeting of the opposition parties on 26/02/24, we must take a resolution on this rigging of SA elections”.

Sadtu responded that Holomisa was a seasoned politician who has participated in elections since the dawn of South Africa’s democracy, and that he knew he was lying in the tweet.

Setting the record straight

“The IEC does not recruit and appoint Sadtu members but recruits and appoints citizens including teachers as public servants who meet the minimum requirements to preside over and manage elections,” the Sadtu said in a statement.

“It is a fact that teachers from other teachers’ unions belong and actively participate in political party activities, including in the UDM but are also appointed by the IEC. 

“The ANC has experienced a decline with teachers presiding over the elections irrespective of whether such teachers belong [to] Sadtu or any other union as public servants.

“The ANC wins and loses ward by-elections with teachers as members of any union including those belonging [to] Sadtu officiating in those elections.”

The union asked why Holomisa served in parliament through the same electoral system he appeared to be attacking.

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“Holomisa must know that lies have short legs and we as Sadtu believe in the integrity of IEC.

“We urge the people of this country to note his character. These are some of the people who have chosen to reject the outcomes of the elections before the day of elections. They have chosen to collaborate with the beneficiaries of apartheid and have allowed themselves to worship them.”

Sadtu explained the national party liaison committee, to which it assumes UDM is a member of, helps develop the criteria of people to work for the commission.

This criteria does not indicate that the commission will recruit teachers affiliated to a specific union, or teachers to the exclusion of those who are not teachers.

“Once the Commission has recruited staff members to work in voting stations, their names are shared with the local party liaison committees for the parties to give to their structures so that they can raise objections against the suitability of the people who will work at the voting stations,” the statement continued.

UDM’s ‘looming demise’

“We believe the process is transparent and fair but the likes of Holomisa who are running parties whose chances of getting enough votes to have a seat in parliament are slim, are now creating excuses for their looming demise.

“We regard this post as an open attack on Sadtu. We will not allow Sadtu’s name to be dragged into the mud or used as an electioneering tool in the upcoming national elections.”

The union continued that its members will know Holomisa as a “union basher”.

“Leaders like Holomisa are already giving workers a taste of what they will do to workers when they come into power, to destroy unions and the rights of workers.

“Members of trade unions including Sadtu have a right in law to be appointed as election officers if they meet the requirements.

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“Holomisa is no different from the DA who openly want to declare education an essential service and therefore take away the rights of teachers to strike.

“He is like Action SA’s Herman Mashaba who wants to amend our progressive Labour Relations Act to make it easy to retrench and dismiss workers.

“To the people of our country, be aware of the danger presented by the likes of Holomisa, who are preparing to reject the election results if he loses.”

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