Officials from the department of education headquarters in Zwelitsha must explain why a report on alleged abuse of pupils at the Bhisho Primary School and the alleged abuse of power by members of the South African Democratic Teacher’s Union (Sadtu) has been gathering dust for seven months. What are they hiding and who are they afraid of?
In a caring society, where quality education for our children is a priority, the unionisation of school governance that favours misconduct and unprofessional behaviour of teachers belonging to a union, would not be tolerated.
On 5 May this year, the department assured the legislature’s portfolio committee on education that the report would be released and it’s findings implemented within 60 days. To date, nothing has been done.
The department hired Rapid Response Investigations to probe allegations of minors being caned and physically abused, misuse of school funds, pupils being denied participation in extramural activities due to divisions among staff who are affiliated to Sadtu and those who are not, emotional abuse and poor discipline. The school has been operating without a governing body since last year after the elections were disputed.
It is understood that the report makes findings on the high level of influence of Sadtu in education.
I have written to the chairperson of the portfolio committee on education, Fundile Gade, to request that the report and the implementation of its findings be placed on the agenda for our next meeting, on 30 November 2016. Education MEC Mandla Makupula must explain why this report has been swept under the rug. We don’t need a repeat of basic education minister Angie Motshekga’s apparent unwillingness to take action against Sadtu on the findings of the “Jobs for Cash” report.
The allegiance by teachers to a union, rather than looking after the best interests of our children, has been hampering quality education in this province for years. We need to put our learners first, not the interests of teachers who seek protection from their union against any disciplinary action.
Edmund van Vuuren, MPL
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