Go-slow delays exams

2013-09-03 00:00

THE first day of matric trial examinations in KwaZulu-Natal turned chaotic after national papers were not sent to schools yesterday.

This was apparently the fulfilment of a promise made last week by the SA Democratic Teachers’ Union (Sadtu) that it would interrupt the crucial exams if the Education Department did not address its concerns.

The Witness visited various schools in the province, where pupils confirmed that they had not begun writing their trial exams.

“We did not write our trials today,” said a pupil from Sukuma Comprehensive in Imbali.

The situation was the same at nearby Zibukezulu and at Raisethorpe Secondary, where pupils said they had also not written their first papers.

Sadtu is demanding that Education HOD Nkosinathi Sishi be fired because they said he was the reason workers in the department were owed R800 million.

Sadtu members also staged a lockdown at the department’s headquarters in Burger Street, Pietermaritzburg yesterday. They chained the gates, ensuring that no one could enter or leave the offices.

The union’s members hurled insults at Sishi, saying he was “a subject adviser who has no administration background”.

“That is why our department is in such a mess. Sishi must leave like the previous HODs who forgot that Sadtu can hire and fire,” said an angry Sadtu member.

Police were called in to assist so that staff locked in could go home. The staff were also abused by the Sadtu members who were angry that their colleagues continued to work while the union embarked on a go-slow.

Eggs were thrown at staff members’ cars as they left, and they were warned to stay away from work today.

The KZN CEO of the National Professional Teachers’ Organisation of SA (Naptosa), Anthony Pierce, said it was unfortunate that pupils were being negatively affected by the go-slow.

“We share some of the concerns raised by the unions. However, we believe that there may be other avenues that could have been used to resolve this problem,” he said.

Pierce said the Education Department should approach the provincial and national treasuries if it can not pay the outstanding money.

Attempts to get hold of the Sadtu leadership in the province and Education Department officials were unsuccessful yesterday.

The Witness understands that Education MEC Senzo Mchunu, Sishi and the Sadtu provincial executive committee were in a meeting until late last night.

• thobani.ngqulunga@witness.co.za

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