The Gauteng MEC for Education, Panyaza Lesufi, has stated that the South African Democratic Teachers’ Union (SADTU) is permitted to hold meetings during teaching time, as long as permission is sought.
The MEC states in a reply to Democratic Alliance (DA) written question that “The Department only gives permission to Union members to attend a meeting when a formal request to hold the meeting is submitted.” While the MEC states that this is in line with Chapter G of the Personnel Administrative Measures (PAM), the MEC should have to the foresight to realise the damaging effects disrupted teaching has on learners and their futures. The PAM should therefore be amended in order to put learners first.
On a recent oversight campaign to schools across Gauteng, I was alarmed to see learners meandering the streets from as early as 10h30, and upon further inquiry it was revealed that the learners had been released from school in order to accommodate a SADTU meeting. This is despite the MEC stating that meetings “are generally called after 13h00”.
This is not true as I am often called by parents who complain about SADTU meetings taking place earlier in the day.
SADTU’s disregard for teaching standards and the need for quality education, gives reinforcement to the DA’s call for the introduction of a National Education Inspectorate, to ensure that teachers and principals are supported and held accountable for the performance of their learners.
MEC Lesufi is continuously painted as ‘Mr Fix-It’ but this is only due to his ability to react to Twitter’s trending topics, not his work of fixing Gauteng’s broken schools. In the coming weeks, I will release the results of the DA Schools Oversight campaign, and tell the people of Gauteng about the true state of schooling in the province, not the sanitised version that has been presented by MEC Lesufi.
It is unacceptable that the disruption of the teaching day would be sanctioned by those entrusted with ensuring that leaners and quality education come first.
Anybody who undermines the right to education is an enemy of the youth and the project of building a better South Africa. The DA will always work towards ensuring that the right to education is upheld and protected.