DURBAN - THE South African Democratic Teachers Union (Sadtu) in KwaZulu-Natal has given Premier Sihle Zikalala and Education MEC Kwazi Mshengu seven days to fill 2 000 vacant posts or its members will go on strike.
Thousands of Sadtu members marched to the premier’s office in Pietermaritzburg to hand over a memorandum of demands on Tuesday. Provincial secretary of Sadtu Nomarashiya Caluza said that proper learning and teaching had not taken place this year because of the shortage of teachers in classrooms. She said 2 000 substitute posts had not been filled. More than 1 203 substitute teachers had either not been paid, or been told not to come back to school. She said about 200 schools in the province had fewer than four teachers.
“In schools where they were appointed, the department has failed to pay their salaries. Besides the anxiety induced by Covid-19, there has been no effective teaching and learning in most of our schools since the beginning of the 2021 school calendar in February. Many schools in the province still do not have teachers, something that translates to no teaching and learning taking place for some subjects, both in primary and secondary schools,” said Caluza.
She said some schools could not write the common tests the department had instituted in the first term because thousands of Grade 12 learners had not been taught. “We have been engaging the Department of Education on many different platforms. This has resulted in the placement of teachers, especially surplus educators. We find it strange that the department is altering the good work that the MEC did, as he consulted teacher unions and school governing bodies in 2020 and declared the total posts he was allocating to schools. Therefore, Sadtu would like to caution that reneging on that would be in conflict with the law,” Caluza said.
Grade R teachers got the worst treatment, where they earned far less than their colleagues, even though they had the same qualifications.
Zikakala said he respected teachers and the contribution they make to the country. He said many issues affected the education system and the time given to respond was too short.
“We will mitigate on the challenges faced. We will engage with National Treasury and respond accordingly.”