Unlike Sadtu, Naptosa and Natu welcome DA’s Siviwe Gwarube as education minister

Taking the oath: Basic Education Minister Siviwe Gwarube is sworn-in by Chief Justice Raymond Zondo. Picture: GCIS

Taking the oath: Basic Education Minister Siviwe Gwarube is sworn-in by Chief Justice Raymond Zondo. Picture: GCIS

Published Jul 3, 2024


The National Professional Teachers’ Organisation of South Africa (Naptosa) and the National Teachers Union (Natu) have welcomed the appointment of Basic Education Minister Siviwe Gwarube.

This is despite the ANC-aligned SA Democratic Teachers Union (Sadtu) expressing dissatisfaction with the appointment of the DA MP.

President Cyril Ramaphosa named Gwarube and five other DA MPs as minister on Sunday night, during the announcement of the Government of National Unity Cabinet of the 7th administration.

The Cabinet consists of ministers from the ANC, DA, IFP, PA, FF+, PAC and Good, while there are also deputy ministers from Al-Jama-ah and the UDM.

Gwarube succeeded Angie Motshekga, who served as the Minister of Basic Education for more than 15 years.

Non-aligned Naptosa, which is the second largest teachers union in the country, welcomed Gwarube and said it is looking forward to working with her.

Naptosa’s executive director, Basil Manuel, said they were looking forward to Gwarube addressing the challenges currently affecting the education sector.

“Education is the cornerstone of our nation's future, and we hope that the new administration will prioritise infrastructure improvement, tackle the pervasive issue of overcrowding, and implement robust measures to enhance safety,” Manuel said.

He said it was vital to ensure that every child, irrespective of their socio-economic background, has access to equal learning experiences and educational opportunities.

Natu’s General Secretary, Doctor Ngema, said they were looking forward to working with Gwarube to advance the agenda of quality education.

“Natu hopes that she will hit the ground running and address challenges of shortages of teachers in schools, school safety, renovation of dilapidated school infrastructure, building new schools, and reading for comprehension,” he told IOL News.

Ngema said they expect that Gwarube would lead efforts to achieve the education goals outlined in Vision 2030, focusing on ensuring equitable education for all learners and implementing recently passed legislation the BELA Bill and other educational policies.

“We know that her party (DA) has reservations with some provisions of BELA, but it was passed by Parliament and signed into law. Thus, we expect her to execute it.

“Regarding the 30% pass rate, we understand that the DA has always opposed it, and Natu is open to engage on this matter,” he said.

Earlier this week, Sadtu, the largest teachers union in the country, expressed unhappiness over the appointment of Gwarube as the new Basic Education Minister.

Sadtu general secretary Dr Mugwena Maluleke said they feared the minister would attempt to repeal the Bela Bill.

“The DA has been clear in terms of rejecting those transformational policies that the Department of Basic Education wanted to implement, including rejecting the Bela Bill that basically wanted to help us with issues of language which should be addressed to deal with discrimination in our schools based on language,” he said.