Teachers protest over salary dispute

2018-05-04 16:00
Sadtu and Natu members protest salary and service delivery issues outside the provincial legislature on Langalibalele Street on Thursday.

Sadtu and Natu members protest salary and service delivery issues outside the provincial legislature on Langalibalele Street on Thursday. (Nhlanhla Nkosi)

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Hundreds of teachers took to the streets of the city yesterday to protest over salary disputes and service delivery issues, saying provincial MEC for Education, Mthandeni Dlungwane, “must fall”.

Disgruntled teachers — mainly from Pietermaritzburg and Durban — shut down Langalibalele Street as they flooded the road outside the KwaZulu-Natal Legislature before Dlungwane delivered his department’s budget speech. Their grievances relate to Grade R teachers still being owed outstanding payments since their salaries were increased last April. They are owed between R750 and R1 250 per month, unions said.

Members of the National Teachers’ Union (Natu) and the South African Democratic Teachers’ Union (Sadtu) staged a picket outside the legislature from Thursday morning until Dlungwane finished his speech in the early evening, closing off Langalibalele Street.

Natu president Siphosethu Ngcobo questioned how the department could spend millions of rands on rolling out the provision of sanitary pads at schools, while teaching posts remained unfilled. Ngcobo added that the department did not supply textbooks on time this year.

Dlungwane said in his budget speech the department was in the process of “adjusting their stipend”.

KZN Education embroiled in another tender dispute

The KZN Education Department has been entangled in another tender dispute. The department has been forced to delay the transfer of the multi-million rand Learner Transport Programme from the Transport Department due to appeals lodged after it awarded tenders to new contractors.

The department was supposed to take over the programme last month but has now made an agreement with Transport to extend the current contracts for three months while Education deals with the appeals.

The announcement was made by MEC Mthandeni Dlungwane, who delivered the department’s R50 billion budget at the legislature on Thursday.

Earlier this year Education was also forced to cancel all National School Nutrition Programme (NSNP) contracts after the Bid Appeals Tribunal ruled against the department’s flawed tender process.

Opposition parties criticised the department’s handling of tenders.

“It is no secret that our province’s education system is in a disastrous state,” said DA spokesperson on education Dr Rishigen Viranna. “Never in the history of any provincial department have there been four major tenders under investigation, namely the National Schools Nutrition Programme, the DoE’s new Learner Transport tender, the sanitary towel tender ... and the DoE’s LTSM (Learning and Teaching Support Materials) tender,” he said.

IFP spokesperson on education Thembeni Madlopha-Mthethwa said the department was in crisis.

“Today I should be wearing a black dress as a sign of mourning the death of the department ...” she said.

Read more on:    pietermaritzburg  |  education department

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