School pupils are bearing the brunt of an administrative crisis and a teacher strike in the Eastern Cape education department, a parent body said on Wednesday.

“The strikes are just an excuse and the rural children and poor children are the ones who suffer,” said the National Association of Parents in School Governance.

Chairman Mahlomola Kekana said education in the Eastern Cape needed to be tackled holistically.

The SA Democratic Teachers' Union (Sadtu) in the Eastern Cape has been on a go-slow since the school year began, claiming it had been overburdened because of the reshuffling of temporary teachers.

Provincial education department spokesman Loyiso Pulumani said the redeployment of teachers was an annual occurrence.

The process was determined by school intake numbers and the need to redistribute teachers according to where their subjects of expertise were needed.

Sadtu has embarked on protests at education offices in the province and locked staff out of the head office in Zwelitsha on Tuesday.

It demanded the removal of department head Modidima Mannya, claiming he had caused a range of problems in the department.

Kekana said that while there were administrative problems in the department, it appeared that Sadtu might have a political agenda in campaigning for the removal of Mannya.

“We don't believe firing Mannya is a solution. There was mismanagement before Mannya was appointed,” he said.

“We strongly believe the Eastern Cape education department cannot resolve its problems and that the national government should take over the administration.”

Kekana said shortages of teaching support material needed to be fixed, and engagement was required between all levels of the department, parents, and governing bodies.

Sadtu's strike was worsening rather than resolving the situation, he said.

“Teachers are supposed to be like parents to our children when they are at school... we appeal to Sadtu to return to class.” - Sapa