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The South African Democratic Teachers Union (Sadtu) in KwaZulu-Natal has praised the province's education department for giving 1490 temporary teachers permanent posts.
The appointments are effective from January 1.
Sadtu's provincial secretary, Sipho Nkosi, said yesterday that the union was pleased with the department's decision to relieve the stress teachers suffered from because they did not have the security of a permanent job.
"This is an indication that the department can listen. We met the department in April and we agreed that we had to come up with a solution to the problem that was demoralising the teachers," said Nkosi.
He said agreement was reached in July that teachers who had been working as temporary staff for 12 months or more would be employed full-time.
Christi Naude, spokesman for the provincial department of education, said the decision was taken after "fruitful negotiations" with teacher unions.
"The latest agreement is a further step to eradicate the bizarre phenomenon of 'temporary permanent' educators that our MEC, Ina Cronjé, inherited when she took over in April 2004," said Naude.
"Since her intervention, the number of temporary teachers in all categories, excluding substitute teachers, has dropped from 16938 to just over 2000."
Naude said the department would always have a number of temporary and substitute teachers who were needed to replace teachers who had been given study leave or other leave.
"It's a phenomenon that exists in teaching throughout the world. What is unacceptable is to have teachers teaching for more than 12 months in a temporary capacity," she said.
A further 2500 teaching posts in KwaZulu-Natal will be advertised in the New Year.