Teachers' salaries favourable - dept
Johannesburg - The salaries earned by South Africa teachers are "favourable" compared to their counterparts in developing countries, the basic education department said on Tuesday.
"Salary levels quoted in the advertisement reflect the total cost of the teacher's salary package at specific levels of experience," the department's race and values director Granville Whittle said in statement.
Defending the contents of an advertisement placed in newspapers on Sunday, Whittle said many of the country's teachers were earning less as they lacked the prescribed four-year professional qualification.
"The department stands by the salary figures given for teachers with a matriculation certificate and a four-year professional qualification.
"Clearly, there are many teachers in South Africa who have a matriculation certificate and a three-year or less professional qualification and therefore they would be earning less."
The department's comments follow criticism by unions that the advert was intended to misinform.
"For the Minister Angie Motshekga to add up all the benefits that teachers get demonstrates the worse (sic) form of dishonesty," the Professional Educators Union said in a statement on Tuesday.
It further accused Motshekga of attempting to depict teachers as unreasonable employees.
"She ignored the fact that the medical aid subsidy is still a thorny and contentious issue subject to the current failed negotiations."
It said that state should take the blame for its refusal to negotiate the minimum service agreement in essential services, as stipulated in the country's laws.
The department however said it had been sensitive to the needs of teachers, hence it was implementing the Occupation Specific Dispensation.
"We remain committed to engage with the leadership of the education sector unions in order to find a solution to the current deadlock," the department said.
While it respected the constitutional right of teachers to strike, the department also stood firm on the "unqualified constitutional right of all South Africans to basic education".