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19 Jan 2009 13:40
Teachers affiliated to the South African Democratic Teachers Union were sacrificing the teaching of children for electioneering, the Democratic Alliance (DA) said on Monday.
“On Friday, the SA Democratic Teachers Union demanded its members close school early so they could attend a meeting to plan the African National Congress’s election campaign,” said DA spokesperson David Quail.
The SA Democratic Teachers Union (Sadtu) is affiliated to the Congress of South African Trade Unions.
The instruction, according to the DA, was given to the union’s Daveyton-Wattville branch (east of Johannesburg) to attend a meeting at a local school at 1pm.
“In order to attend the meeting, members would have to quit school before the end of teaching. This is unacceptable behaviour.
The teaching of our children should be put above party political activities,” said Quail.
The party called on the union and Gauteng minister for education Angie Motshekga to reprimand the branch and take disciplinary steps.
They should also give a public undertaking that Sadtu will not be allowed to disrupt schooling for party political gains, the DA said.
Quail said this incident led to the perception that Sadtu’s “primary mission” was not to educate children but to keep the ANC in power.
It also showed that the provincial education department was happy that the teachers were working on the election campaign rather than what they were being paid to do—or it showed that the department was ‘too scared to discipline Sadtu members”, the DA added.
Comment from the union was not immediately available.—Sapa
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