'I spoke the truth'

FUMING: Axed Sadtu president Willie Madisha. Pic. Veli Nhlapo. 30/07/08. © Sowetan.
FUMING: Axed Sadtu president Willie Madisha. Pic. Veli Nhlapo. 30/07/08. © Sowetan.

Eric Naki

Eric Naki

Axed South African Democratic Teachers Union (Sadtu) president Willie Madisha says he was fired from the union because he spoke the truth in public about the missing R500000 involving SACP chief Blade Nzimande.

Speaking to journalists in Johannesburg yesterday Madisha said the union leadership agreed with him that he spoke the truth on the R500000 issue, but he was not supposed to say it in public.

The trade unionist, who will challenge his dismissal in the equality court, reiterated that his dismissal was the work of "conspirators" within Sadtu.

Madisha lashed out at what he called "political imbeciles who could not even pronounce their names properly" but campaigned against him, saying "Madisha is a counter-revolutionary".

Sadtu accused Madisha of not supporting Jacob Zuma as ANC president in Limpopo and for publicly saying that he gave the missing R500000 to SACP's Nzimande. The donation was from Pretoria businessman Charles Modise, who has since laid a criminal charge against Nzimande.

I don't know where this Zuma issue came from. I have great respect for both Zuma and Thabo Mbeki and all other ANC leaders. When I spoke at Mokopane (Limpopo) on December 16, I said women's rights must be respected because they were also human rights. I said women should not be raped because they wore miniskirts.

"These conspirators in our union mischievously changed what I said to say that I was referring to Jacob Zuma.

Regarding the R500 000 cash allegedly given to Nzimande, Madisha still insisted that "this is true".

"I merely told the police the facts as I knew them," he said. "I saw no reason to speak or to make an affidavit. There are witnesses who did the same.

"I was under constant pressure to defend myself because I admitted to receiving the money from Modise and handing it in. Eventually I had to say to who," he said.

He said he was asked by both Sadtu and Cosatu, of which he was also president, not to talk about the matter.

"What makes me happy is that I was dismissed not for lying. They say I spoke the truth publicly and I was not supposed to do that."

Madisha, who is a teacher at Ramabele High School in Zebediela, said he was not paid by the union, but only got groceries worth R2 500, a car and accommodation.

But he understands that all the perks will be withdrawn and he has to make do with his teaching salary.

Responding to Madisha's claims, Sadtu yesterday said its NEC ensured that Madisha had a fair disciplinary hearing with every opportunity to state his side of the case.

"What Madisha is hiding from the public is that he admitted through his representative at the investigation enquiry that the utterances he made on SABC news were directed at Jacob Zuma," said Sadtu.

Madisha claimed he was denied natural justice because his shop steward representative was denied a chance to familiarise himself with "massive information" and charges against him.