Conversely in the larger South African context one finds an opposing reality, with the ongoing debates over free education and the feasibility thereof. This begs the question; “Will the SAMWU modules be accredited, if the qualifications come at no extra cost to the worker?”. The President of the Union addressed this succinctly in stating that the Union has strategically partnered with EWSETA (Energy and water sector education and training authority), LGCETA (Local government sector education and training) as well as the CCMA in order to ensure that the qualifications are viable and that workers will be given skills that will help absorb and promote them within the workplace. Moreover, the South African Municipal Workers Union is in the middle of drafting a memorandum of agreement with the University of The Free State as well.
The educational qualifications on offer are equivalent to a higher certificate and a National Diploma. All qualifications are recognised by the South African Qualification Authority. The module offerings range from Labour Relations, labour law and litigation respectively. The aforementioned are not speculative goals set on unprecedented merit, the South African Municipal Workers Union boasts 225 shop stewards obtaining an NQ Level4 as well as 16 officials successfully trained in litigation NQ Level5. With the resources now afforded by the media centre and college it is beyond any doubt that these numbers will increase significantly.
The SAMWU college also has a long-term goal of serving as a community centre for underprivileged scholars within the surrounding community, thus not only empowering the workers it serves but also the communities they come from. This is done in the hope that this initiative may serve as a microcosm for a model which can be replicated nationally, with the objective of sustainable poverty alleviation through education.
In conclusion, to quote Nelson Mandela “A good head and a good heart are always a formidable combination. But when you add to that a literate tongue or pen, then you have something very special”. The South African Municipal Workers Union, has taken the first of many steps in its unflinching resolve to ensure that the worker is equipped with both a literate tongue and pen.
SAMWU Officially Launches Media Library and College
The 26th of April 2017 marks a historic event, the South African Municipal Worker’s Union launched a first of its kind media centre and college. SAMWU positions itself as a proponent of sustainable upward mobility for the worker through education. This vision of having a research centre and a college is the brain child of the incumbent office under the leadership of President Pule Molalenyane, now realised this serves as a testament of what happens when an organisation is united in its objective to champion the needs of the worker.