Apartheid lingers in SA education: Cosatu

By Drum Digital
24 April 2013

Structural deficiencies in the South African education system need to be addressed urgently, Cosatu president Sdumo Dlamini said on Wednesday.

He told journalists at a Sadtu protest in Pretoria the labour federation supported calls for Basic Education Minister Angie Motshekga and her director general Bobby Soobrayan to resign.

"The protest is out of concern by Sadtu that our education in this country needs a lot of fixing. There is no time for pussy-footing. We have to deal with the mud schools in the rural areas and the low wages.

"We have to deal with the system. It is a structural apartheid system that still exists in our education system. It has denigrated the African child to the periphery," he said.

The unions hoped government would "get to its knees and speak to Sadtu".

Regarding criticism over the possible disruption of classes due to the protest, Dlamini said the strike was for pupils.

"This is a comprehensive strategy by the teachers; it is about the child. The system needs to be fixed for the benefit of the children of this country.

"The minister has gone on a crusade to say the protest is illegal instead of responding to issues. We hear the minister crying, saying Sadtu is sabotaging. What sabotage?" Dlamini asked.

The minister should "play along" in defence of collective bargaining instead of opposing it.

Asked what the unions would do if Motshekga and Soobrayan did not resign, Dlamini said the strikes would be intensified.

"The plan is clear; you will hear strikes. We need to focus on issues of transformation in the public service and the minister is delaying us. Let her be warned, and come back to the table about the serious issues. [What she is doing] is not helpful," Dlamini said.

At midday, hundreds of teachers left the open space in Marabastad to make their way to the Union Buildings.

They were being addressed through a public address system set up on a truck.

Sadtu said it expected close to 25,000 of its members to take part in marches to the Union Buildings in Pretoria and to Parliament in Cape Town on Wednesday.

"The marches are meant to increase the pressure on... Motshekga and... Soobrayan to resign from their... positions, in defence of collective bargaining and promotion of quality public education," Sadtu said in a statement.

On Monday, the basic education department and Sadtu failed to agree whether the marches were legal.

Sadtu members have been on a national go-slow since pupils returned from the Easter holiday.

The department said teachers who joined the protest march would face disciplinary action and the no-work, no-pay rule would apply.


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