"NTEU comes in and things start to happen.", General Secretary, Grant Abbott, for the National Tertiary Education Union speaking at the launch of the NTEU’s University of Limpopo branch
The auditorium was abuzz with excited and yet, frustrated murmurs. During his address to a near-capacity crowd, Chairperson Steven Baloyi noted that this, "is a historic day at Turfloop campus; enough is enough!".
South African universities have been the incubators for many of our political heroes and as a result certain universities themselves have become political strongholds.
NTEU, being the only apolitical trade union within higher education, holds a certain appeal for those tired of the politics.
"We deal with the bread and butter issues", said NTEU National President, Dimakatso Peo as he commended the many volunteers for their diligence and willingness at the traditionally NEHAWU campus.
The University of Limpopo is not the first ANC aligned stronghold that have called for an alternative. The University of Fort Hare reached out to NTEU with another motivated branch in the pipeline. At a Fort Hare meeting in January staff stated that they cannot look the other way anymore and that unions must fight for rights and not for tenders. This was amidst a trend of workers being exploited by their representing union for personal gains.
Staff at Turfloop campus, Limpopo, hailed NTEU as having "come at the right time".
Since the first signs of cracks within the current higher education landscape, most prevalently through student uprisings, NTEU found itself faced with unavoidable questions. Positioning the trade organisation to better address social justice issues, a function many unions have historically shied away from, NTEU sports true transformation with a leadership fixated on advancing the rights of all income groups, races and genders.
With higher education workers finding themselves in an economic climate of constant uncertainty the calls for alternatives are becoming louder and NTEU is actively answering that call. .
"This [NTEU] is the alternative that our frustrated and exploited workers have been searching for." NTEU National Marketing Officer, Jako Nel.
The National Tertiary Education Union is the only apolitical trade union focusing exclusively on the higher education sector and an affiliate to the Federation of Unions of South Africa (FEDUSA).
NTEU General Secretary
C: 083 439 6363