The following article by Max Matavire of the New Age appeared this week:
The South African Democratic Teachers’ Union (Sadtu) has been accused of having contributed to the deterioration of the education system in the Eastern Cape because the union continued to back its incompetent members who hold senior positions in the education department.
The teacher union has most of its members holding senior positions in the education department structures as school principals and senior officials at district level and at the department’s headquarters in Zwelitsha outside King William’s Town.
In most instances, Sadtu puts pressure on the education department to avoid taking disciplinary actions against its members who fail to deliver.
A case in point is the recent suspension of district education director Nyathi Ntsiko by the department’s superintendent-general Modima Mannya. But in less than a month, Ntsiko was back at work after massive pressure was put on Mannya by Sadtu to re-instate him.
This was confirmed by staff at the education district office in Port Elizabeth, but they declined to be named for fear of victimisation.
However, Edmund van Vuuren, a DA member of the provincial legislature who also sits on the education portfolio committee, confirmed the suspension and what he called “ interference” in the process by Sadtu.
“The education system in the Eastern Cape is in the intensive care unit,” said Van Vuuren. “The MEC (of education) and his senior officials are afraid of Sadtu.
“If a senior education official who is a member of Sadtu is disciplined for a genuine misdemeanour, the teacher union pressures the department to rescind its decision.
“Sadtu is contributing a lot in lowering the standard of education in this province. They back each other even when one is wrong, and this is killing the education system.” Sadtu declined to comment, saying the issue was being politicised as Van Vuuren belonged to the DA.
Last week, parents from a predominantly coloured area of Port Elizabeth, took to the streets and marched to the education district offices demanding that the more than 5000 temporary teachers dismissed by the department at the beginning of this school year be re-instated.
The temporary teachers were dismissed despite an acute shortage of teachers in the province. Last week, the parents threatened to organise a protest march to Bhisho to meet education MEC Mandla Makupula. The march was cancelled after the MEC promised to come and attend to the problem in Port Elizabeth himself.