Teachers marking matric exams tell of toilet shame as taps run dry

Johannesburg – Teachers marking matric papers in Ulundi told on Sunday of the shame of using the bush as toilets as they battled without running water and proper toilets.

Now the marking of the papers at the James Nxumalo Agricultural High School has been compromised because of water shortages and alleged poor working conditions.

READ MORE: Anxious wait for matrics

The 460 teachers marking papers downed their pens on Sunday morning after complaining to the KwaZulu-Natal Education Department. Teachers said they were working under bad conditions since they started marking papers on Monday.

This could potentially have disastrous consequences for the marking process in Ulundi, they told News24.

But the Department of Education in KZN moved to allay fears, closing the marking centre and moving it to Durban.

KZN teacher, who did not want to be named, said they have been in dire need of water for two days. He said the conditions were so bad that woman teachers were using the bush nearby as a toilet.

"We can’t work as professionals under these conditions. We decided to tell our unions to come and witness these conditions. It’s disgusting here. The female educators can’t even use the toilets because of the stench. We are forced to use the bush as our toilet, it was just awful," she told News24.

The teacher said the workers were demanding to be moved to another marking centre, but the Department of Education seemed reluctant.

"South African Democratic Teachers Union [Sadtu] is working to get us moved. We can’t stay here and we refuse to work, if they do not move us," she said.

READ: Pass on uniform, don't write on shirts, matrics urged

Department of Education's spokesperson Muzi Mahlambi said that instead of providing a short term solution and providing more water tanks while waiting for the district municipality to solve the problem, the decision had been taken to move the marking centre to Durban. 

"The markers will be accommodated at a hotel in the point district and they will mark the scripts at the George Campbell Technical school. We have created a long term solution to the problem we faced and can keep to schedule," he said.

Sadtu Provincial Secretary Nomarashiya Caluza said the two water tanks were not enough to take care of hundreds of officials.

"You can’t bring two tanks and three mobile toilets to 600 people. They have promised to move the marking centre to Durban and we hope they will fulfil this promise."

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