Sadtu teachers get threatening letters

2009-08-04 00:00

OFFICIALS have been sent to the Ntembisweni Primary School in Greytown by the KwaZulu-Natal Education Department following threats against teachers there.

Fourteen teachers, all members of the ANC-aligned South African Democratic Teachers’ Union (Sadtu), received letters last weekend accusing them of furthering ANC agendas in the area. The letters allegedly stated that these teachers should leave so that recently matriculated pupils in the area could fill their posts.

Nine of the teachers, who are not from the area, were so shaken by the letter that they have stopped going to school, while the other five, who are from Greytown, are still going, though they fear for their lives.

Speaking to The Witness, Sadtu’s regional secretary in the midlands, Sandile Zondi, said “faceless” threats are becoming a trend that needs to be stopped, which is why they are encouraging their members to stop going to work in order to force the department into action.

The Witness understands that Ntembisweni is an IFP ward and has become unsettled due to political volatility after the killings of both IFP and ANC councillors a few weeks back. During the election campaign period, an ANC member was thrown down a cliff to his death as a result of the tensions.

Zondi said the department must send a clear message that “we can’t afford to have ‘thugs’ who know nothing about education wanting to run the system in this province”.

“The teachers could easily ask for transfers, but we are encouraging them not to. First and foremost we want assurance of our members’ safety from the department. We want the investigation issue to be taken seriously.”

According to Zondi, one teacher who received threatening phone calls before this incident was so intimidated that he left the school.

Department spokeswoman Mbali Thusi said the officials sent to the school will gather the facts from teachers as the department’s primary concern is for teaching and learning to continue as soon as possible.

Findings and a comprehensive report on the department’s interventions will be made available today, Thusi said.

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