Protesters try to force way into Union Buildings

2013-04-24 15:04
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Sadtu march

See all the latest pictures as members of the SA Democratic Teachers' Union march in Pretoria and Cape Town.

Pretoria - Police struggled to control thousands of striking teachers' union members at the Union Buildings in Pretoria on Wednesday.

Protesters pushed through police barriers in an attempt to enter the buildings, but to no avail.

Its security doors remained closed.

Calling for the resignations of Basic Education Minister Angie Motshekga and her director general Bobby Soobrayan, protesters sang songs calling for them to "voertsek” [scram] and "hamba [go]".

They also wielded placards reading: "Angie doesn't know anything", and "Away with declaring education an essential service".

One protester shouted: "This can be another Marikana. We don't care."

While tourists visiting the Union Buildings used cameras and cellphones to photograph the protest, the vendors outside packed up their wares.

A police helicopter hovered over the crowd.

The protesters soon moved away from the buildings and back to the lawns.

Earlier, Congress of SA Trade Unions (Cosatu) president Sidumo Dlamini said structural deficiencies in the South African education system had to be urgently addressed.

Calls for minister’s resignation

Cosatu supported the calls for the resignations of Motshekga and Soobrayan, he told journalists earlier.

"The protest is out of concern by Sadtu that our education in this country needs a lot of fixing," said Dlamini.

"There is no time for pussy-footing. We have to deal with the mud schools in the rural areas and the low wages.

"We have to deal with the system. It is a structural apartheid system that still exists in our education system. It has denigrated the African child to the periphery," he said.

Cosatu hoped government would "get to its knees and speak to Sadtu".

Sadtu expected about 25 000 of its members to take part in the Pretoria march and another to Parliament, in Cape Town on Wednesday.

"The marches are meant to increase the pressure on... Motshekga and... Soobrayan to resign from their... positions, in defence of collective bargaining and promotion of quality public education," Sadtu said in a statement.

Sadtu members have been on a national go-slow since pupils returned from the Easter holiday.

The department said teachers who joined the protest march would face disciplinary action and that the no-work, no-pay rule would apply.

- Were you there? Send us your eyewitness accounts

Read more on:    sadtu  |  cosatu  |  angie motshekga  |  bobby soobrayan  |  sidumo dlamini  |  cape town  |  education  |  protests

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