KZN teachers vow to march until department heads leave

2009-08-07 00:00

PIETERMARITZBURG should anticipate a week of marches by teachers, which will culminate in a provincial march next Thursday and the downing of tools thereafter, should their demands not be met.

Clad in South African Democratic Teachers’ Union (Sadtu) gear, union members yesterday toyi-toyied to the sound of vuvuzelas, whistles and songs adapted to poke fun at those heads of the KZN Education Department who they want removed.

Roads had to be cordoned off as they marched from City Square to the department head offices in Burger Street.

They warned that this is only one of many marches the city should expect. The teachers came from the Durban South region and other branches will get an opportunity to present their case next week.

Mabutho Cele, the regional chair of the Durban South branch, told the crowd, which was also made up of school clerks, security guards and cleaners from the Umlazi district, that all their problems are focused on the five department heads they want removed.

They want gone the superintendent-general Cassius Lubisi, head of HR and admin services Lulama Mbobo, head of service delivery Simon Mbokazi and chief financial officer Hlengiwe Ncuma.

According to Cele, this decision was taken by the provincial executive committee of Sadtu.

But at centre of all the problems, they say, lies Mlungisi Ntombela, the district director, whose office in Umlazi is corrupt. They allege that this is swept under the carpet as Ntombela is one of Lubisi’s closest allies.

“There is a lot of corruption in that district and we have evidence to prove it. The fact that the department is overlooking the corruption means they are part of it. They have failed to improve matric results. Since Cassius Lubisi took over in 2004, the results moved from 74% and have been going down ever since — now they are at 57%.”

They said some schools are operating for just two hours in certain areas with no transport as a result of an irregular tender process in the awarding of the R80-million dedicated to pupil transport.

“Once they are gone, we can sit down and come up with a programme and strategy to improve the quality of education that they have contributed to the decline of,” said Cele. Attempts to get comment from the Education Department yesterday were unsuccessful.

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