Teachers, motorists come to blows during Sadtu drive-slow

2013-03-08 18:05

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A fist fight broke out between a Durban teacher and a motorist during a drive-slow staged in the central business district in sweltering heat, during afternoon traffic.

Motorists hooted angrily as members of the South African Democratic Teachers’ Union (Sadtu) blocked the road today, resulting in heavy congestion.

KwaZulu-Natal teachers across districts picketed, to add their voices to the call to have Education Minister Angie Motshekga and her director-general, Bobby Soobrayan, sacked.

It took more than an hour to drive through Durban’s Dr Pixley KaSeme Street (West Street) to the department of education offices in Stalwart Simelane Street (Stanger Street), which is just a few kilometres away.

Some taxi drivers initially hooted in support of the picketers but this soon gave way to anger.

Angry motorists and taxi drivers periodically swore at the teachers and on a number of occasions the situation nearly came to blows.

“Voetsek, move out of the road man,” one motorist yelled.

“You f****ng idiots, you can’t stage a march in the middle of traffic,” another motorist screamed.

The motorists’ agitation seemed to reach its climax when the blockage passed the hour mark.

One motorist confronted the car leading the pack on his lane, which resulted in a fist fight.

A crowd of drivers gathered around with some asking, “Why did you hit him?”.

The driver was later pulled out of the fight by a woman who apologised on his behalf.

There were no visible injuries.

Among the cars in the motorcade was an SLK 200 and other Mercedes Benzes, as well as a BMW.

The teachers’ motorcade would periodically stop dead despite a green light.

One teacher was even seen getting out of her car to retrieve lunch from the boot.

Others hung out of car windows holding placards calling for the heads of Motshekga and that of her “henchman”, Soobrayan.

Addressing the teachers, KZN Sadtu secretary-general Mbuyiseni Mathonsi, said the picket was just a “warning” to signal the start of serious rolling mass action that would in the process bring the education department to its knees if their grievances are not addressed.

“We are here defending our rights as workers because it is clear that they want to take us back pre-’94 where we had no rights, where there was no collective bargaining and the employer made decisions on its own,” he said.

Mathonsi encouraged teachers not to work extra hours.

“From today, arrive at work at 07:30am and leave at 14:30pm. That’s the seven hours you are paid for. We are no longer going to engage with the department. We will no longer work Saturdays and Sundays. We will not allow their inspectors to disturb us while at work. We will no longer attend any workshops,” said Mathonsi.

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