Eastern Cape schools go-slow starts to spread

Tuition at 58 schools in Uitenhage, Rocklands and Despatch has come to a standstill because of a go-slow by teachers, The Herald Online reported on Thursday.

It said observers expect the action to spread to schools in Port Elizabeth.

The South African Democratic Teachers’ Union’s (Sadtu) western region began the go-slow about a week ago, ending schooling at 11am daily. It vowed to maintain the action for 70 days.

This came after the arrest of former regional secretary Sipho Miggels and shop steward Nontsikelelo Songwiqi during a Sadtu protest a week ago.

On Wednesday, more than 100 pupils embarked on a march in support of the teachers.

They confronted the education department’s district management in Uitenhage, blockading the main entrance to the district building.

Visitors and officials were prevented from leaving or entering until police arrived and opened the gate.

The Herald said the go-slow has spread to areas such as Mthatha, Queenstown, Mount Fletcher, Mount Ayliff and Port St Johns.

The two Sadtu officials are out on bail and will appear in court again on September 28.

They faced several charges, including an assault on police and public violence, The Herald reported.

The 70-day duration of the protest stemmed from the 70 hours spent by Miggels and Songwiqi in police custody before they appeared in court.

Pupils were also demanding learning support material, free stationery and books, free and compulsory education, and the building of more schools.

Provincial education spokesperson Thobile Gowa called on Sadtu to talk to management and let pupils attend classes.—Sapa