Pretoria - The “radical and militant” teachers' union, the Educators' Union of South Africa (EUSA), on Wednesday escalated its call for teachers across the country to arm themselves and be in a position to defend themselves amidst escalating incidents of violence in schools.
"We've called this media briefing at a time when teachers are being butchered in schools. It is a sad time indeed for our profession. It is unfortunate that our employer chooses to ignore our safety and has abandoned us. Today, a teacher's life is as good as a statistic, deserving condolences every time a learner or a hooligan decides to pull the trigger," EUSA president Scelo Bhengu said as he addressed journalists at the Union Buildings in Pretoria.
"It can never be correct when we are butchered in our workplaces as if we don't have an employer. Teachers, defend yourselves. Our call for teachers to arm themselves in self-defence is misconstrued deliberately by those who benefit out of the shenanigans in our schools - the drug dealers, armed robbers, rapists, heartless criminals and beneficiaries of the school shenanigans."
Describing Basic Education Minister Angie Motshekga as "an incompetent gogo", Bhengu said there has been no decisive intervention from government to shield teachers.
"How did the President [Cyril Ramaphosa] choose her over [Gauteng Education MEC] Panyaza Lesufi? EUSA will continue to reject her as minister until she leaves for good. Her arrogance behind the Sadtu capture is too annoying and hampers real education in the country," said Bhengu.
The union believes educators across South Africa have no option but to counter fire with fire.
"Teachers have had enough and shall from now, henceforth, defend themselves in workplace. Our calls for two police officers at every school have been turned down. Teachers, register with the nearest shooting range then apply for a firearm to defend yourselves as you are on your own until our employer deploys two SAPS personel in each school," said Bhengu.
EUSA's general secretary, Siphiwe Mpungose, said the union represents over 21 000 members teaching in South African institutions of learning.
He said most of the EUSA members are from the dominant South African Democratic Teachers Union (Sadtu).
"We are tired of that sellout," said Mpungose.
African News Agency (ANA)