The claim by the South African Democratic Teachers’ Union (SADTU) that it is investing more of its resources in teacher professional development than in supporting collective bargaining has led to this research. SADTU is the biggest teacher union with more than 230 000 members in South Africa (SA) and is more often than not using strikes and other forms of industrial action to put pressure on the Department of Basic Education to address its demands as a union. It even joins industrial action called by COSATU which has no relation to education matters. The aforementioned statement by SADTU is captured in Nxesi (2005) and SADTU (2002) However, the public media disagrees with what SADTU claims to be doing when it vowed to halt teaching and turn every court case involving its members into a holiday despite the crisis the strike has caused for school children ( Mashaba, et al: 2007: 11).
Internationally teachers’ unions like the Israeli Teachers’ Union (ICT), National Education Association (NEA), Nova Scotia Teachers’ Union (NSTU), Botswana Teachers’ Union (BTU), Florida Education Association (FEA) and the New South Wales Teachers’ Federation (NSWTF) have already started with teacher professional development programmes and initiatives in their respective countries and this is captured in NEA (2006), BTU (2005), FEA (2010), NSWTF (2010). SADTU’s initiatives are in line with international trends. The need for SADTU members to be accorded teacher professional development is given more emphasis in that SADTU has established The Curtis Nkondo Teacher Professional Institute. This institute aims to address the challenges of poorly skilled educators in South Africa particularly SADTU members, and is emphasised in SADTU (2013).
SADTU’s initiatives are in line with the Continuing Professional Teacher Development (CPTD) initiative which is a performance standard in the Integrated Quality Management System (IQMS) which is emphasized in Department of Education (2006).
The finding of this research indicates that SADTU is involved in its members’ professional development.