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striking teachers won't back down

By unknown | May 30, 2008 | COMMENTS [ 0 ]

Sne Masuku

Sne Masuku

The strike by teachers at the Mandlakayise Primary School in Inanda, Durban, who want their principal removed, is entering its third week today.

More than 20 teachers at the school downed tools two weeks ago after the return of their principal, who had been suspended for accepting bribes to place teachers desperately seeking employment.

The 20 striking teachers are affiliated to the South African Democratic Teachers Union (Sadtu) and the National Teachers Union (Natu). They oppose the reinstatement of principal Francis Mthembu.

Mthembu was found guilty of accepting bribes paid to her in monthly instalments by the teachers she offered posts at the school.

The Department of Education suspended her for three months without pay in 2006.

Sadtu spokesman in the province Sipho Nkosi said the striking teachers were engaged in "cheap trade unionist politics".

He claimed that the teachers had been trying to get rid of Mthembu since she dumped Natu and joined Satu.

Eighteen of the striking teachers are members of Natu, while the other two belong to Sadtu.

"The principal was found guilty and served her punishment," Nkosi said. "If the teachers have a problem with that they should follow the right procedures and file their complaints."

One of the striking teachers, who did not want to be named, said the decision to down tools was not motivated by the union the teachers belonged to.

He said the teachers were refusing to teach in an unsafe and unfriendly environment.

Natu spokesman Allen Thompson dismissed Sadtu claims that the situation had something to do with the unions.

Thompson said when the principal was found guilty the teachers thought she would be dismissed, but instead she was suspended for three months without pay.

"Now it raises eyebrows that there are cases of teachers being dismissed for touching as little as R150 belonging to the school, yet someone who accepted bribes of about R5000 is only suspended for three months."


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