Ruling until Jesus comes not a given, Vavi warns ANC

2012-03-08 15:42

People “were not so stupid” that the ANC would rule until Jesus came regardless of its actions, Cosatu general secretary Zwelinzima Vavi has said.

Speaking on the opening day of teacher’s union Sadtu’s Eastern Cape education summit, Vavi took a swipe at the ruling party for, among other things, snubbing the summit.

Eastern Cape premier Noxolo Kiviet, Basic Education Minister Angie Motshekga, ANC provincial leadership, and alliance partners were all absent.

Vavi said the education crisis in the Eastern Cape was indicative of a deeper crisis in government, and that factions within the ANC were using the upcoming Mangaung conference to silence critics.

Factionalism and 2012 fever made it impossible for unions and the ruling party to speak with one voice on the education crisis, he said.

Government has been accused by the Eastern Cape Sadtu of failing to implement resolutions from the agreement it had signed with unions recently. Not only was government absent from the summit but district directors were called to a meeting elsewhere.

“I’m disappointed government is not here, and the alliance is not here. I’m told they were invited to take part, but regrettably they seem to be busy elsewhere,” Vavi said, prompting laughter in the room.

He went on to say they were absent probably because they could not explain the reasons for going back on the agreement.

“It appears to me that this agreement, and the new spirit (to which parties had committed to) is currently under threat because it took Sadtu leadership to stage a sit-in for them to move off the starting blocks,” he added.

He called government’s absence a snub that could be designed to frustrate Sadtu into action that would enforce the stereotype that it is unruly.

“For me the priority of a province that came last ought to be education,” he said, adding that the summit would come up with a concrete way forward.

Earlier this week NGO Equal Education held a picket in the province to highlight the problem of poor infrastructure. It was also reported that several schools in the Graaff Reinet area had to stop offering maths and science because they did not have teachers for the critical subjects.

Vavi said the education crisis was indicative of a deeper crisis in government, and that factions within the ANC were using the upcoming Mangaung conference to silence critics.

He encouraged teachers, saying they should continue fighting for the transformation of education despite a clear agenda to make them seem responsible for the education crisis. He said they should focus on being at school, teaching, and setting a good example for learners.

Sadtu provincial secretary Mncekeleli Ndongeni said a critical question asked by the conference would be how to get civil society to take up the fight on their behalf, so that teachers could focus on teaching.

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