Aggressive pickets drive teachers from schools

2010-08-19 00:00

SHAMBOK-WIELDING pickets allegedly drove teachers out of a number of Northdale schools yesterday.

One of the affected teachers told The Witness the pickets are members of the SA Democratic Teachers’ Union (Sadtu). He said they were very aggressive and verbally abusive.

The Witness understands that staffers, who included cleaners and clerks who had reported for duty at schools in the area, were not Sadtu affiliates.

The teacher said of the pickets: “These people are supposed to be professionals and I don’t understand how they can behave like that … There was a convoy of about 40 to 50 cars and they were moving from school to school.”

The teacher said the women teachers at their school were frightened and some were crying although there was no violence.

The strikers “told us that today they were talking, but tomorrow they won’t be talking. They would not leave before they saw us go.”

Willy Naidoo, Sadtu’s regional secretary in the midlands, denied the picketing had been conducted by his union’s members. He said Sadtu members were strictly warned by the regional chair to exercise extreme discipline.

Police have confirmed that some schools have opened cases of intimidation. This campaign was also conducted at schools in Imbali.

Cases of intimidation were also opened by parents of pupils at Scott­burgh High School on the south coast. A senior member of staff at the school said about 200 strikers waved knobkieries and hurled insults at teachers who had met with matriculants off campus, to give them work to do at home.

KZN Education Department spokesperson Mbali Thusi said some circuit and district offices were inaccessible due to picketing. They included the Ugu, uMlazi, Pinetown, Ilembe and Mzinyathi districts. However, not all schools were closed or disrupted.

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