Tension between members of the SA Democratic Teachers Union (Sadtu) and government was palpable for most of the day today at the union’s congress.
Earlier, union members booed and heckled Basic Education Minister Angie Motshekga when Sadtu leader Thobile Ntola acknowledged her presence at the teachers union gathering.
The minister was supposed to address the delegates who gathered for a four-day congress but it was later announced that she would address the gathering tomorrow.
Instead, her deputy, Enver Surty, delivered the message of support.
When Surty stood up to speak, a group of delegates started singing “Mabhunu amnyama nisenzel’iwari” (Black boers you are causing us stress).
The tension between the Cosatu-affiliated teachers date back to the civil service strike that crippled government service in August.
Addressing the gathering earlier, Ntola accused the education department bureaucracy of being “lazy” and “useless”.
He said there was nothing in their behaviour that indicated “that education is a priority”.
The congress, Ntola said, should oppose an ANC national general council resolution calling on teachers to be barred from standing as councillors in the 2011 municipal elections.