Teachers’ Day: DA and Sadtu at odds

2009-10-22 00:00

KZN Education MEC Senzo Mchunu believes that World Teachers’ Day is important enough to be celebrated.

Mchunu was responding to questions posed by The Witness following criticism by the Democratic Alliance that yesterday’s celebration, an event organised by the South African Democratic Teachers’ Union (Sadtu), goes against President Jacob Zuma’s repeated message that teachers must be in classrooms teaching.

Mchunu was to have been the keynote speaker for the event yesterday, but government business prevented his attendance.

DA Education spokesman Tom Stokes said: “The president has repeatedly stated that teachers should be in classrooms teaching and that no teaching time should be compromised. Yet again, Sadtu are condoning teacher absence by scheduling celebrations during school time.”

Sadtu’s regional chairman, Chris Ndlela, said teachers are entitled to time off for meetings and events organised by their unions.

He said for union leaders, this is 10 days per year and for ordinary members, eight hours per year, granted by school principals.

“No school was closed for the event, but I must stress that we had very good attendance.

“The Labour Relations Act does make provision that if these 10 days or eight hours are exhausted for reasonable time to be given.”

Ndlela said this “reasonable time” is not well defined, but Sadtu chooses it to cover occasions whenever the need arises for a meeting.

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