Mannya a scapegoat - dept
Johannesburg - The head of the Eastern Cape education department Modidima Mannya has become a scapegoat for general dissatisfaction in the SA Democratic Teachers' Union (Sadtu), the department said on Tuesday.
"We have opted to stay out of the Mannya debate, but the challenges have been there for quite a while and cannot be attributed to an individual," said spokesperson Loyiso Pulumani.
He agreed with Sadtu's Eastern Cape spokesperson Mncekeleli Ndongeni, that the union was not on a full-blown strike.
"I wouldn't call it a strike, but a disruption of programme in some schools, [for example] at some schools teachers have been knocking off early," Pulumani said.
Many schools were unaffected, he added. Earlier, Ndongeni said the union would consider striking if its demands were not met soon.
"We are still at school, but we are engaged in a programme of protest activities," said Ndongeni.
The union was unhappy about long hours and poor working conditions, which Ndongeni claimed were symptomatic of poor leadership by Mannya.
"For him to be in charge of so many children's futures, it's a disaster."
Sadtu members have complained that the retrenchment of some temporary teachers left permanent teachers overworked, affecting the quality of education the province's pupils received.
Pulumani said teachers were "redistributed" annually, according to student intake numbers and subjects offered by schools.
"We do this every year and for the last 10 years there has never been full agreement between Sadtu and the department."
Pulumani said moving teachers around was not unique to the Eastern Cape and happened in every province.
This and the department's budget had been used to spread the workload, so teachers would not be overburdened, "but the budget only goes so far".
Meetings were held in an attempt to defuse the tension between Sadtu and the department, but no resolutions of mutual satisfaction had yet been reached.