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Teachers 'abandon' classes for ANC campaign

By unknown | Jan 21, 2009 | COMMENTS [ 0 ]

Tebogo Monama

Tebogo Monama

The days of "liberation before education" are back to haunt South African schools, especially in the townships.

More ominously, the "struggle" is led by the largest teacher union in South Africa, which is bent on disrupting schools in the build-up to the yet to be announced general elections.

"Schooling will only be stable when Msholozi is elected president. We are defending the revolution," said Sadtu's Soweto branch chairman, Ronald Nyathi, about the ANC and its allies electioneering during school hours.

Sadtu represents 240000 teachers, which accounts for more than two-thirds of teachers in the country. It is an affiliate of Cosatu, the biggest labour federation in South Africa.

Last week, Gauteng education MEC Angie Motshekga and ANC president Jacob Zuma visited Bhukulani Secondary School at Zondi in Soweto, in what was seen as part of his election campaign offensive.

Motshekga missed the Council of Education Ministers meeting to attend Zuma's appeal case in Bloemfontein. She defended her decision by saying that she was employed by the ANC and not the department.

On Friday, Sadtu's Daveyton-Wattville branch in Ekurhuleni instructed its members to attend an ANC election campaign meeting at a local school. Teachers had to cut short lessons to attend the meeting.

This week, ANC Youth League president Julius Malema has been visiting Gauteng schools and donating shoes to disadvantaged pupils.

Nyathi said the Soweto branch was planning a teachers' mass meeting tomorrow morning.

He said: "Teachers are intelligent and can make up the time spent in meetings. We can conduct extra classes.

"We must have meetings during school hours because it is the same time that other people use to destroy the ANC's credibility."

Democratic Alliance spokesman David Quaill said: "This is unacceptable. The teaching of our children should be put above party political activities.

"The perception is that Sadtu's primary mission is not to educate children, but keep the ANC in power."

Education department spokesman Lunga Ngqengelele said: "There must be no disruption of classes. Meetings should be held after hours. Sadtu has partnered with the department on a quality teaching campaign."


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