Johannesburg - The National Executive Committee (NEC) of the South African Democratic Teachers’ Union (SADTU) has called for the vaccination to be rolled to as many people as possible.
This is to mitigate the devastating effects of this pandemic to save lives and livelihoods, the union said in a virtual meeting on Friday.
The virtual meeting took place a few days after the country was placed under adjusted level 4 by the National Coronavirus Command Council and on the eve of the early closure of schools for the winter break due to the escalating numbers of Covid-19 cases.
“The NEC welcomed the smooth rollout of the programme to vaccinate educators and support personnel which began last week and which has seen more than 200 000 educators and support personnel being vaccinated. While the NEC appreciated the progress, it said however the union could not fully rejoice the vaccination programme when thousands of educators in the Early Childhood Development, CET and TVET sectors were not part of the programme,” said Sadtu spokesperson Nomusa Cembi.
Cembi said the NEC resolved to engage the government further including the Minister of Science, Higher Education & Training to address the vaccination of the post schooling sector.
Cembi said the union will continue to fight vaccine nationalism and put pressure on the government to look at getting the vaccine from Russia and Cuba following due processes led by science.
“The NEC criticised the bureaucracy surrounding the distribution and vaccination sites and blamed these for the slow vaccination process. No one is safe until everyone is vaccinated,” said Cembi, adding that schools which are closer to communities to be used as vaccination sites as it has happened in the education sector and the programme had no hitches.
“The NEC also called on South Africa to invest in its own vaccine production capacity so that it can assist other African states as well.
“The NEC commended the South African government who, despite all the shortcomings of the vaccination strategy, has led the charge jointly with India at the global stage for moving the whole world towards a TRIPS waiver for vaccine related Intellectual Property. Sadtu has been one of those loud voices consistently in support of the Copyright Amendment Bill which its importance was put to the fore by the discourse on the vaccine production related Intellectual Property,” Cembi said.
The teacher union’s body said following the increasing number of instances of violence and sexual harassment cases by teachers against learners, Sadtu will on 18 July (International Mandela Day) hold a virtual National Men’s Forum to allow the union to reflect on the impact of gender based violence in school communities.
Cembi said the union will define its code of conduct in ensuring its members are disciplined and professional in their conduct.
“The union will continue to condemn any barbaric tendencies of bullying and racism at our schools which continue to rear their ugly heads. The union will campaign against schools being Volkstats and will oppose any attempts to exclude blacks from accessing these public institutions. Schools should remain centres of learning. They are a key part of our nation building project and can’t be reduced to sites that denigrate and humiliate our children,” Cembi said.