Motshekga gives in to Sadtu demands

2013-05-06 22:22
Angie Motshekga (Picture: Beeld)

Angie Motshekga (Picture: Beeld)

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Cape Town - The SA Democratic Teachers' Union on Monday suspended all protest action after Basic Education Minister Angie Motshekga agreed to meet a host of its demands.

In a joint announcement, the minister undertook to support an urgent initiative to achieve parity in the public service, and to appoint a task team to deal with the union's complaint about a failure to increase the salaries of matric exam markers.

Motshekga also bowed to the union's demands for an investigation into allegations against the director general of education, Bobby Soobrayan.

It has accused him of violating the Public Finance Management Act. She said the matter would be referred to the Public Service Commission and dealt with "as a matter of urgency".

She agreed to supply unions with infrastructure plans for schools to enable them to monitor implementation, and to withdraw a directive that ended the payment of rural allowances to teachers in Limpopo.

"The department of basic education agreed that the administrator in the Limpopo department of education [will] withdraw circular no 117 and rescind the decision taken therein," the union and the minister said in a statement.

Motshekga said the decision to scrap the allowance was taken because of budget constraints, and she had not been informed beforehand because it was a provincial competence.

Sadtu's deputy general secretary Nkosana Dolopi told a media briefing the union dropped calls for Motshekga to resign and suspended its threat to embark on a 21-day work-to-rule protest.

"We have decided to let the 21 days run," Dolopi said, adding that the union would see how government dealt with its demands in that time.

On 24 April, Sadtu held protest marches to Parliament and the Union Buildings in support of its demands. Thousands of teachers were not at work that day and schools were forced to close.

On Monday, the minister and the union described their stand-off, which drew in Cabinet and the Congress of SA Trade Unions, as par for the course.

"Look, we are a union, we represent a constituency... There will be times when we will be tough with each other," said Dolopi.

Motshekga said they had reached a "ceasefire" after a fallout that was normal for people who lived or worked together.

"I don't expect even after this a walk in the park," she added.

However, Motshekga said though she was "quite satisfied" that Sadtu had distanced itself from protesters' display of women's underwear on April 24, she would not withdraw a complaint on the issue to the Equality Court.

She said it was an insult to all women and raised concerns in a society plagued by gender violence.

"For me it is a separate issue... a political issue which is a gender issue. It fuels patriarchy which is very dangerous in terms of gender-based violence."

Read more on:    sadtu  |  angie motshekga  |  education  |  politics

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