14/06/2012. Basic Education Minister, Angie Motshekga during a media briefing to hihglight recent development in Basic Education, held in Pretoria. Picture: Thobile Mathonsi

Cape Town - The government’s bid to get teaching back on track is off to a rocky start after the SA Democratic Teachers’ Union (Sadtu) on Tuesday called for beleaguered Basic Education Minister Angie Motshekga to resign, saying it had lost confidence in her and threatening an indefinite strike.

After a special meeting of its national executive committee in Kempton Park on Monday, the union said it no longer had faith in Motshekga’s ability to lead the department and protect collective bargaining, accusing her of unilaterally withdrawing from a 2011 agreement to raise fees for markers.

It had resolved that Motshekga must tender her resignation “with immediate effect”.

The union has thrown down the gauntlet after Motshekga floated the idea of introducing an electronic register to crack down on teachers’ absenteeism, claiming the rate in South Africa was the highest in the Southern African Development Community.

It also follows an aborted call by President Jacob Zuma to declare education an essential service, which would have removed the right of teachers to strike.

Motshekga said she found it “disturbing that the union… opted to make such a call through media, instead of using the regular channels of communication”.

“I’m disappointed about this trend of stakeholders choosing to communicate with the Basic Education ministry through media statements. We are always committed and available to meet and discuss any concerns raised by unions…” she said.

Political Bureau