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Sadtu protesters shut down East Cape education offices
07 February 2012

Zandile Mbabela, Neo Bodumela and Msindisi Fengu [email protected]

THE Eastern Cape Education Department has threatened drastic action against members of the SA Democratic Teachers’ Union (Sadtu), who yesterday brought the administration of education to a halt across the province by forcing district officials out of their offices.

The department, seeing the union’s ongoing go-slow as an illegal industrial action, has threatened a no work, no pay policy if the action continues.

This comes as Sadtu members intensified their action and descended on district education offices, ordering staff to abandon their duties until the department commits to reinstating the temporary teachers whose contracts were terminated.

In Port Elizabeth, district officials were chased out of the darkened Ethel Valentine Building in Sidwell when about 30 Sadtu members ran through the corridors ordering officials out of their offices.

Education spokesman Loyiso Pulumani said they had received reports of five other districts that had been disrupted by the union yesterday – Grahamstown, Queenstown, King William’s Town, Fort Beaufort and East London. Other reports said, however, that 23 offices had been affected.

“By participating in this illegal action, they are opening themselves up to any further action the department may feel necessary,” he said.

Sadtu regional chairman Mazotsho Dukwe said the shutdown would extend to all districts in the province unless a draft agreement between Sadtu, the provincial government and the National Education, Health and Allied Workers’ Union (Nehawu) to reinstate the teachers was signed.

“There is a draft agreement that has been crafted between the executive committee of the provincial government (Exco), Sadtu and Nehawu, and there is a consensus in it that these teachers will be reinstated,” he said.

“All we want is for the Exco to sign that agreement. The service of these teachers was terminated in the middle of the budget year. We want these teachers to be reinstated and consequently made permanent as a matter of urgency.

“All other issues regarding the superintendent will be dealt with after this.”

Provincial education boss Modidima Mannya yesterday issued another memo to all staff saying the department had not authorised their industrial action and their actions could land them in hot water.

“The department is not aware of any authorised industrial action by any registered trade union and has not received any notice of any such industrial action,” he wrote.

“The use of any form of force, directly or indirectly during any industrial action, whether such industrial action is protected in law or not, constitutes a serious offence and serious misconduct.”

He added that all staff should return to work immediately and that nobody should prevent another from performing their duties.

An urgent application – set to be heard at the Bhisho High Court on Friday – to stop the “unlawful industrial action” by the union was lodged two weeks ago when members intensified their go-slow that started merely a week into the new academic year.

The DA spokesman on education in the province, Edmund van Vuuren, said they were appealing to premier Noxolo Kiviet and her executive to intervene in trying to end the stalemate.

“Now is the time for this executive to stand up and be counted. We are not a banana republic and must never allow one group to trample on the constitutional rights of another group,” he said.

“Let us not allow Sadtu to use our children and legitimate institutions to enhance their own agenda in their fight with the superintendent-general. Let us put a stop to the impasse between these antagonists.”

Meanwhile, pupils at Limekhaya High School in Uitenhage held their own protest and stormed the teachers’ staff room demanding to have their temporary accounting teacher brought back.

This follows a picket by teachers on Friday against the appointment of a new teacher, which would render the temporary teacher redundant, to start today.

Teacher Buyiswa Qundela said Sadtu had instructed its temporary teacher members to carry on working until the court process had been finalised.

Nationally, the DA has threatened to lodge a complaint with the Human Rights Commission (HRC) against Sadtu.

In a statement yesterday, the DA’s spokesman for Basic Education, Annette Lovemore, said Sadtu was violating the constitutional rights of thousands of pupils in the province.

“There are other ways that they can raise their matters, but not by depriving children of their right to education,” she said.

Late yesterday, Lovemore confirmed she was busy finalising the complaint.

She stressed the party did not feel Sadtu members were wrong for demanding the dismissal of Mannya, but that the union’s conduct was not going to assist children who wanted to study.

Van Vuuren said the DA wanted to take the matter further to ensure that Kiviet and Education MEC Mandla Makupula were held accountable for Sadtu’s actions.

“They have failed to resolve this and allowed Sadtu to continue depriving children of their right to education. This matter will be taken further with the HRC to ensure that they account for what Sadtu is doing,” Van Vuuren said.

Yesterday’s disruptions at 23 district offices came amid an ongoing go-slow at schools where teachers have put down chalk since the beginning of the school year in an attempt to push Kiviet into acting on their demands.

COPE provincial chairman Sam Kwelita said both the ANC and Cosatu had not handled the impasse in the correct manner. “Their meetings have created an impression that something is going to happen” he said, adding that the matter had been politicised.

Kwelita said government employees should not be allowed to decide who should be fired.

The UDM’s Jackson Bici condemned Sadtu’s actions. “One needs to ask a question on whether their children are affected by these go-slows or are [they] learning at former Model C schools. They have not followed President Jacob Zuma’s calls that teachers should be in class teaching.”

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Your comments

edisking1 [07 February 2012 10:41]
Thumbs-up to Mr Mannya for having ZERO tolerance for corruption and bribery. As for SADTU and affiliated teachers, you are a shame to the human race. What of your students? What of those teachers who have no work? I can think of only one reason why you would want Mr Mannya out of office and that is because he is not corrupt and will not take bribes…SADTU on the other hand…DISHONEST!
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Your Views

The Struggle 10 February 2012 2:09 pm

Cde Lulu Johnson’s deployment as chairman of portfolio committee – Agriculture, Forestries …

The Struggle 10 February 2012 2:03 pm

Clearly the ANC Nelson Mandela Bay Regional Chairman, Cde Nceba Faku ran the municipality as his own backyard. He has enriched himself. The ANC in the region cannot continue be led by a self-centere…

BrandGat 10 February 2012 10:47 am

Looks like Lloyd Edwards is being set up here,and the someone is being lined up to get the required permit! dirty tricks again?…

BrandGat 10 February 2012 10:24 am

So what`s new in the new South Africa!…

BrandGat 9 February 2012 1:17 pm

To all those in the”Struggle” it continues on and on because now you struggle to be ”King of the Hill’, every one wants to be top dog so knives come out and the struggle continues,until you end up d…

dokhotelo 8 February 2012 10:41 pm

…and by the way. Malema had very efficient accountants so they can explain in plain hyerogliphics how a poor man with only a miserable salary of Prez of the Youth Fleague can metamorphose his money …

dokhotelo 8 February 2012 10:32 pm

PeSter: I am an authentic astronaut too!!!….Your statements don’t hold, because they are biased. You might not be approving corruption, but, unless I read The Vuvuzerald from another planet, every d…

PStir 8 February 2012 11:08 am

I AM an independent accountant, I do my own taxes and 50% and 9 days are over-the-top and far-fetched, if you don’t want water, electricity (when they are available) or your nice house then go without…

mastermindPE 8 February 2012 10:35 am

@PeSter – you will get the shock of your life when you realise you work only 9 days out of every month for yourself, the rest of the month – you work for the trough of the snout gobblers and gravy qua…

The Struggle 7 February 2012 4:07 pm

During the May Regional Conference, I urge the branches to vote with their minds and not be emotional. The youth league has learnt the hard way, they are disbanded because they allowed themselves to b…