The South African Democratic Teachers’ Union (Sadtu) in KwaZulu-Natal says schools are no longer safe for teachers and their salaries do not match the high cost of living.
Hundreds of teachers marched to the Durban City Hall on Friday to hand over a memorandum of demands to the Department of Education in the province.
Speaking at the city hall, Sadtu provincial secretary, Nomarashiya Caluza, said many teachers and education staff have been attacked at gunpoint in the workplace by criminals who have identified schools as sites to prey on.
Caluza said the Department of Education was running schools as if they were tuck shops.
“It is scandalous that we still have schools that have not been paid their financial allocation … they [the department] decides willy-nilly on how much must be paid and when it will be paid to schools,” she said.
She said on the same day in 2017, Sadtu marched and delivered a similar memorandum to the department and instead of the situation improving it has got worse.
It is clear that all these workers who are here today had no choice but to take the very critical time out of their ever-busy schedules to come here to express their frustrations on the flagrant failure of our employer to deliver quality education to our kids.
“We have noted the horrible conditions under which workers are caused to deliver education in KZN,” she said.
She said over the years the department has failed to fill vacancies created by attrition and has had to run the administration of the department with a skeleton staff.
Sadtu said it is calling for decentralised post-level one appointment processes to fast-track the filling of vacancies.
It said the non-filling of office-based posts compromised the support that the districts should be providing to schools.
Many workers have exited the service of the employer for a variety of reasons, and they are not replaced.
This puts undue strain on the remaining personnel which invariably exposes the department to risk.”
The KwaZulu-Natal MEC for Education Mbali Frazer signed and received the memorandum on behalf of the Education Department and other government departments.
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She said the issues raised by the education staff were being taken seriously and recommendations on the necessary interventions were also being considered.
We would like for you to allow us to go back so that we can within 14 days have a meeting with Sadtu leaders.
“We are committed to ensuring that we deliver quality education to our pupils,” she said.