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Former EI President Thulas Nxesi appointed to South Africa’s cabinet

Education international and the South African Democratic Teachers’ Union welcome the decision of the President of South Africa’s to appoint former President of Education International, Cde Thulas Nxesi, to the Cabinet of South Africa as Minister of Labour and Employment.

On 30 May, South Africa President Cyri Ramaphosa announced his decision to appoint a former President of Education International (EI), Cde Thulas Nxesi, as Minister of Labourand Employment.

Nxesi served as President of EI from 2004 to 2009 before being chosen to run for the South Africa Parliament. Prior to his role as a global union leader, he was a founding member of the National Education Union of South Africa (NEUSA) and was elected in 1995 as General Secretary of the newly merged SADTU, the first national, non-racial teachers’ union. During his 14 years leading the union, SADTU’s membership grew from 30,000 to a quarter million.

As President of EI, Nxesi stressed unity and social justice for workers throughout the world. He promoted education unions’ involvement in the international labour movement, emphasizing the potential of teachers to influence global policy. Additionally, he advocated for the unification of teacher unions at national level, believing that unity is crucial to representing union members, learners and the education community.

SADTU issued a statement on the appointment of the new cabinet, welcoming the new leaders but reminding them of the work ahead, declaring, “As workers, we look forward to Cde Nxesi joining us as a shop steward on issues of compliance and improvement of conditions at the workplace.

“We congratulate the President for appointing a balanced cabinet, considering, among others, areas such as generational mix, competence, gender and regional representation. We wish all the ministers the best in their new roles, while reminding them that the honeymoon is over. Our people need services, our people abhor laziness and incompetence; they hate corruption.

We need an efficient, effective and capable state that prioritisesits people.

All hands on deck as we grow our country together.”