Mixed reactions over loyalty pledge

Eric Naki and Penwell Dlamini

Eric Naki and Penwell Dlamini

There was mixed reaction to the proposed introduction of a pledge of allegiance in schools with opposition parties accepting the idea with caution.

DA education deputy spokesman Desiree van der Walt said while her party welcomed the idea of a pledge, there must be wide consultation on the issue.

"If Minister of Education Naledi Pandor wants a pledge of allegiance to be accepted by all South Africans, she needs to allow sufficient time and space for consultation," said Van der Walt

"The DA supports the idea of a national pledge as a means to help forge a common South African identity. But we are also well aware of the enormous diversity of opinion and that the final product should not be regarded as a top-down imposition."

Independent Democrats spokesman Steven Otter said the pledge in its current form was a good start to the process.

"The next step in the process should be the introduction of studies on the Constitution, especially those areas relating to human rights and dignity, in the school curriculum," said Otter.

Deputy principal at Orlando High School, Wilson Maumelo, said: "I think it is relevant to the youth but it should have put more emphasis on their responsibilities."

A Grade 11 pupil at the same school, Zakhele Ncamane, said: "I am happy with the pledge, but I do not think I will be able to recite it."

Winston Zwane, a teacher at Sekano Ntoane High School, said he understood the pledge but was unsure if his pupils would do the same.

"The pledge is fine but the language used is not youth- friendly," said Mandisa Kubheka, a Grade 12 pupil at the school.

Thulare Bopape, principal at Isaacson Primary School in Rockville, was happy with the pledge but said his school had already developed their own. It will be launched tomorrow.

"Only pupils in higher grades will be able to understand and recite this," said Bopape.

Prudence Sekgabi, a Grade 12 pupil at Mafori Mphahlele Comprehensive School in Molapo, welcomed the pledge but wondered why it was not written in simple language for the youths.

Her teacher Toshi Moroe had a different view: "The pledge will help them acknowledge the sacrifices that were made for the country's freedom and the language is good."