Sadtu gathers for Cape Town protest

By Drum Digital
24 April 2013

Hundreds of Sadtu members gathered in Keizergracht at the start of a march to Parliament in Cape Town around 11am on Wednesday.

The SA Democratic Teachers' Union (Sadtu) march, aimed at forcing Basic Education Minister Angie Motshekga and her director general Bobby Soobrayan to resign from their posts, was meant to start at 10.30am.

The union said on Tuesday that close to 25,000 members were expected to take part in the national marches in Pretoria and Cape Town.

Protesters clad in red T-shirts sang and danced in the Cape Town morning fog. They gathered behind a large white banner, reading: "SADTU WCAPE" in red lettering.

Some protesters waved placards. One read: "Appoint all the temporary educators and vacant substantive posts", and another: "Away with declaring education an essential service".

Cape Town metro police kept watch. An officer filmed the protest. Police blocked roads near the march route.

There was a false start to the march when the truck leading the protesters moved about 50 metres, then came to a halt. A man with a loudhailer announced from the back of the truck the march would be slightly delayed.

"We are delayed for one simple reason: our leaders could not land at Cape Town airport because it was misty," he said.

Congress of SA Trade Unions deputy president Zingiswa Losi was meant to lead the Cape Town march.

Sadtu said on Tuesday the marches were also in defence of collective bargaining and to promote quality public education.

The department of basic education said on Tuesday that teachers who participated in the march would face disciplinary procedures, and that the no-work, no-pay principle would be enforced.

One of the Cape Town marchers wore a T-shirt emblazoned with the words "Every child needs a teacher".

The marchers are expected to hand over a memorandum at 1pm. It was not clear by whom it would be received.

From its starting point at Keizergracht, the march will proceed along Darling, Adderley, Spin, and Plein streets to Parliament.

On Wednesday basic education department spokesman Panyaza Lesufi said in a statement there had been minimal disruptions to schooling, despite the union's stay-away.

"The Sadtu strike has not had a major impact in most parts of the country today as teaching and learning is taking place."

Initial reports indicated that schools in the North West were the most affected, with 224 teachers reported absent and the gates to seven schools locked.

"In Gauteng, Eastern Cape, Free State, Mpumalanga, Limpopo, Northern Cape, KwaZulu-Natal and Western Cape no reports of disruptions had been reported earlier this morning," Lesufi said.

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