The South African Democratic Teachers’ Union (SADTU) on Friday called for “tyrannical” Gauteng education minister Barbara Creecy to step down because she hates black people.
“The best answer is for her to step down. She must just go away,” the union’s Gauteng chairperson Moss Senye told the South Africa Press Association (Sapa) in a telephone conversation.
He labelled Creecy a “tyrant” that focused only on white schools.
“She just hates black people. She only gives cellphones to teachers and principals in white schools and now she is putting fences for them,” he said.
He accused Creecy of neglecting black schools that had huge textbook shortages and deteriorating facilities.
Senye also dismissed reports that he had called Creecy “satanic” at a mass rally on Thursday.
“There was no context to that. It was not intentional,” he said.
“It was not about Barbara. We said some members from the department were tyrannical and terrible towards teachers.”
The Sowetan newspaper reported that Creecy came under fire at a meeting on Thursday for implementing the “No-work, no-pay” policy.
Creecy’s spokesperson Charles Phahlane declined to comment on the racism and satanism remarks, but said labour unions did not object to the implementation of the policy for teachers who participated in last year’s month-long public-sector strike.
“We have not received any formal objection to that,” Phahlane told Sapa.
“All the unions agreed that deductions would resume in March and we will therefore proceed with it.”
Phahlane said an agreement was reached with all the unions, including Sadtu, after certain concerns were addressed.
“The unions had some concerns about deductions and claimed that our [the department’s] database and statistics [those who participated in the strike and those who did not] were not accurate and they wanted a clean-up of it.”
“In January and February, we undertook a whole process around this and now there is no problem with the database,” he explained.
The new statistics were sent to schools and unions to verify.
“We got the verification and on that basis we will proceed with deductions,” he said.
Gauteng ANC condemns comments
Meanwhile, the Gauteng ANC said it stood by Creecy.
“The attacks are unwarranted because the MEC [provincial minister] has done an excellent job to improve the level of education in Gauteng,” spokesperson Dumisa Ntuli said in a statement.
“The statements are worthless and are made by leaders who do not prioritise education. The insults would not deter the MEC and ANC from championing good education programmes.”
He condemned Senye’s remarks describing it as “irresponsible” and “reckless”.
Ntuli said it was regrettable that schools in Soweto were not performing well.
“It is with great disappointment that while education in the province has improved generally, the Soweto schools have performed badly.
“It is our sincere expectation that any responsible leader of the teachers’ union in Soweto would be focusing on working together with the MEC to improve this unfortunate state of education rather than on engineering insults,” he said. – Sapa