President Cyril Ramaphosa
Picture: Phando Jikelo/African News Agency(ANA)
President Cyril Ramaphosa Picture: Phando Jikelo/African News Agency(ANA)

Teachers unions accuse Ramaphosa of not taking school violence seriously

By Thami Magubane Time of article published Feb 18, 2020

Share this article:

Durban - Teachers’ unions have accused President Cyril Ramaphosa of failing to take the fight against violence in schools seriously.

The unions said there was scant mention of the issue in Ramaphosa’s State of the Nation Address (Sona) last Thursday.

It was reported in September last year that KwaZulu-Natal ranked third in the country for school violence hot spots, with 202 incidents.

There were 1345 incidents across the country and bullying was the most common form of violence in schools.

Since the beginning of this year, there had been at least three incidents in KZN.

A teacher was shot by someone pretending to be a parent; in another incident, two pupils stabbed each other; and a video emerged on social media of another pupil being bullied.

Ramaphosa spoke of the need to make investments in early childhood development to improve education outcomes, of the introduction of the three-stream curriculum model, and of the number of TVET colleges that would be built this year.

SA Democratic Teachers’ Union general-secretary, Mugwena Maluleke, said there seemed to be no political will to address the matter.

“We are not satisfied with what the president said. We would like to have seen concrete details of what the plans are.

“Every week a pupil or teacher is attacked. This is a crisis and there should be a programme that is led by government,” he said.

Maluleke said government should have detailed social programmes it had in place for teachers so that they could identify and assist with troubled pupils.

National Professional Teachers’ Organisation of South Africa (Naptosa) president Nkosiphendule Ntantala said school violence appeared to be “continuously swept under the carpet”.

He said Naptosa hoped that the announcement by Ramaphosa that the anti-gangs units were to be strengthened would be carried out, and that these units would assist in protecting schools that are in gang-ridden areas.

National Teachers Union president Allen Thompson said they were disappointed that Ramaphosa had failed to comment on the deaths and destruction at schools.

Approached for comment, Ramaphosa’s spokesperson, Khusela Diko, said violence in schools was a complex social matter that required collaboration.

“The president’s view is that violence of any type, regardless of who it is directed against, is unacceptable and a matter of serious concern.”

She added that communities also needed to start taking responsibility.

The Mercury

Share this article: