MEC will not intimidate us, say striking teachers

Sne Masuku

Sne Masuku

Angry teachers at the Mandlakayise Primary School in Inanda say they are being intimidated, this time by KwaZulu-Natal MEC for education Ina Cronjé.

They challenged Cronjé to sack them, vowing not to go back to class until their safety was guaranteed.

On Tuesday Cronjé issued a strongly worded statement warning of severe action against the 20 teachers at the school who, instead of teaching, have been reporting to the KwaMashu circuit offices for two months.

The teachers downed tools after the department reinstated their suspended principal, Francis Mthembu.

They said they feared for their lives since Mthembu returned from her suspension for fraud in May.

Last month unknown gunmen shot and wounded Mthembu as she left her home in KwaMashu. She survived the shooting.

Cronjé warned that she would take stern action against the teachers if they did not return to class immediately.

She warned that any teacher who does not report for duty would be dealt with in terms of the available legislation.

"We are not prepared to tolerate any dereliction of duty on the part of teachers because they are jeopardising our children's future," Cronjé said.

"We will not be intimidated and risk our lives," the defiant teachers said. "No one from the MEC's office has even made an effort to talk to us about our problems."