Frenzied bid to avert EC teachers’ matric exam strike

The national department of basic education will move urgently on Wednesday to avert a threatened strike by 53 000 Eastern Cape teachers — in the middle of matric exams.

The department’s spokesperson, Panyaza Lesufi, told the Mail & Guardian on Wednesday morning that the potential for disruption of matric exams is “so huge” but the department “believes it has the capabilities to persuade the strike’s organisers not to strike”.

The South African Democratic Teacher’s Union (Sadtu) said last week it would mobilise its 53 000 members in the province to begin striking on Friday.

Sadtu’s demands
Its chief demand is that the provincial education department reinstates more than 4 000 temporary teachers whose contracts were terminated last year.

The union also said the department had failed to consult them over the number of teachers’ posts it would fund next year, City Press reported online on Tuesday this week.

Basic Education Minister Angie Motshekga will meet on Wednesday and Thursday with union representatives, Eastern Cape education minister Mandla Makupula and “various stakeholders to make sure there is no strike”, Lesufi told the M&G.

‘It’s their matter’
Sadtu national spokesperson Nomusa Cembi said, “It’s their [Sadtu Eastern Cape’s] matter. We are not saying we support them but … provincial branches have the right to call for strikes.”

“The Eastern Cape provincial [branch] followed the due processes so they can call a strike if they want to,” she said.

The union’s Eastern Cape provincial executive was in meetings on Wednesday morning and unavailable for comment.

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Victoria John
Victoria studied journalism, specialising in photojournalism, at Rhodes University from 2004 to 2007. After traveling around the US and a brief stint in the UK she did a year's internship at The Independent on Saturday in Durban. She then worked as a reporter for the South African Press Association for a year before joining the Mail & Guardian as an education reporter in August 2011.

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