Rights must not be left out

The killing of two women teachers in KwaZulu-Natal and the circumstances surrounding the incident must be deplored.

The killing of two women teachers in KwaZulu-Natal and the circumstances surrounding the incident must be deplored.

The pair, teachers at Hlokohloko Primary School, were reportedly murdered as a result of a conflict between two rival teachers' trade unions. Four people, including a school principal, have been arrested.

Their deaths have been linked to tensions between the South African Democratic Teachers' Union and the National Teachers' Union in the province.

If the allegations are true, this incident and other cases of violence linked to industrial actions mark a sad day for democracy in this country.

Teachers have a right to belong to the trade union of their choice and to differ with anybody, including colleagues, without being persecuted for their stance.

Dialogue and criticism are healthy and should be encouraged.

Those who offer a dissenting view have the inalienable right too to express their opinions.

A pattern emerging with alarming frequency in the labour relations environment is where violence becomes the resort of those wanting to settle scores.

Invariably those who are targeted for violence - or even death - are those who have opposed taking part in strikes.

This trend must be nipped in the bud without delay.

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