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Johannesburg - Teacher union Sadtu is missing an opportunity to add to the debate on teaching being an essential service, ANC secretary-general Gwede Mantashe said on Wednesday.
“Such a resolution is intended to focus on improving the education of a black child,” Mantashe said in a statement.
“This resolution will ensure that we provide education that will contribute to the socio-economic transformation and emancipation of a black child in the South African economy.”
During the African National Congress's conference last year in Mangaung there was consensus that education had to be protected from disruptions. Strikes and service delivery protests had negatively affected the stability of schools and the quality of education, the ANC said.
Last month Mantashe said the ANC and government would make sure education was declared an essential service. There needed to be an attitude change towards education.
Whether this would be legislated would be decided after a process of ensuring there was buy-in and all sectors of society saw education as an essential service.
The ANC's alliance partner, the Congress of SA Trade Unions, and education affiliates rejected this. Unions said making education an essential service would not fix the problems within the sector.
Mantashe said the SA Democratic Teachers' Union (Sadtu) had become accustomed to calling for resignations of senior officials in the basic education department.
The ANC hoped Sadtu's leadership would contribute to the resolution of ensuring that education became an essential service.
On Tuesday, Sadtu called for Basic Education Minister Angie Motshekga to resign. It accused Motshekga of having withdrawn an agreement that protected collective bargaining.
At the time education department spokeswoman Hope Mokgatlhe declined to comment. She said in a statement the minister was disappointed to hear from Sadtu via the media. - Sapa