Teachers march in Eastern Cape

2011-11-11 12:18

Teachers marched in Bhisho, Eastern Cape, today and handed a memorandum detailing their concerns to education authorities, their union said.

“We are not striking as yet. This is a day of action and it’s only for today [Friday],” SA Democratic Teachers’ Union (Sadtu) Eastern Cape deputy secretary Nnolitha Mbolinuswa said.

The union would consider a strike at a later stage.

“Although there are a lot of us here, we ensured that the examinations are continuing,” Mbolinuswa said.

She claimed about 5 000 teachers took part in the march.

Invigilators at exams had been told to carry on with their work.

The union, which claimed a membership of 53 000 across the country, wanted all temporary teachers dismissed at the beginning of the year, to be reinstated to full-time positions.

It wanted payment of outstanding salaries, and the lifting of the suspension of members found to have breached departmental policy in the way they held union meetings.

The teachers also wanted the Eastern Cape education department’s head to be suspended, pending an investigation into the department’s affairs.

Today, the department said it was “unfortunate” that teachers in the province could go on strike.

“[It] regards such an intention as unfortunate, during a time when learners are writing their final year examinations,” it said in a statement.

Ministerial spokesperson Hope Mokgatlhe said Basic Education Minister Angie Motshekga met with Sadtu representatives on Tuesday.

“They assured the minister that grade 12 examinations would not be affected. We are at this moment trying to establish the reason for the pending strike.”

In March, Motshekga said there were problems in implementing education policy in the province, and that national government intervention was needed.

Mbolinuswa said Sadtu had tried to consult with the department, but was being ignored.

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