Ricochet News

SADTU accuses DA of trying to undermine teachers' right to strike

By Afikile Lugunya - Jul 12, 2018
SADTU accuses DA of trying to undermine teachers' right to strike

The South African Democratic Teachers Union (SADTU), the biggest teachers' union in South Africa hit back at the Democratic Alliance (DA) accusing the party of trying to undermine teachers' right to strike.

On Wednesday, DA Federal Chairperson, who is also Nelson Mandela Bay Municipality Executive Mayor, Athol Trollip, and a group of parents where joined by DA Shadow Deputy Minister of Basic Education, Nomsa Marchesi, DA Member of the Portfolio Committee on Basic Education, Sonja Boshoff MP, and DA Eastern Cape Shadow MEC for Education, Edmund van Vuuren MPL, in a march to SADTU's offices in Port Elizabeth.

According to the DA, a certain number of teachers must stay with learners whenever there are strikes so as to protect the childrens' right of safety.

“We made submissions to the Essential Services Committee to say that we have to look at safety of learners, who are at school during strikes when teachers are not there. 

“Based on the submissions, they gave us allocated estates for different provinces, which are the Eastern Cape, KwaZulu-Natal, Western Cape, the Free State and the Gauteng,” Marchesi described.

In response SADTU said that the party is just pulling a publicity stunt and electioneering.

It further said that the DA is desperate and seeking attention by abusing the “hard earned right to strike by the teachers”.

SADTU said that the DA wrote to them asking for support, but they were too quick to march before SADTU made a decision.

“The hard earned rights of workers are being attacked on a daily basis by the DA while it remains mum on the poor working conditions of the workers.

“We have never heard them speak when African children are not excluded by schools on the basis of Afrikaans, nor have we heard them comment when the working class children in particular the Africans are being taught in dilapidated and overcrowded classrooms," the union said in a statement.

“If they truly care about the children, let them first demonstrate that by forcing their own members on farms to care for the children of their farm workers."

SADTU also accused the DA of stealing an original idea of the Essential Service Commission (ESC) where SADTU indicated that they would participate “in the process as initiated by the Department of Labourt".

“The law prescribes a process to be followed for the determination and declaration of an essential service.

“It is not whether SADTU agrees or not, but it is the product of a process involving all interested parties. Marching to our offices is not part of that process.”