The decision by the KwaZulu-Natal branch of the South African Democratic Teachers Union (SADTU) to hold a march during school hours today is reckless and unfair on learners as they cannot afford to miss school during this time.
The final matric exams are about to start and these play an immense role in the post-school future of learners. Learners deserve to enter this stressful and important period with the full support of the educators and school structures. It is therefore irresponsible for SADTU to toy with our children’s safety and learning for their own ends.
This is exactly the kind of situation where key staff members should be at schools to ensure learner safety as there is a great risk of children being abandoned while educators and principals are marching.
The DA believes that principals and deputy principals form part of these key staff members. As leaders, they must be present at schools to provide adult supervision and ensure that arrangements are made to keep learners safe whenever there are strikes.
We have already met with the Essential Services Committee regarding making principals, deputy principals and other crucial staff members an essential service and placing reasonable limits on their right strike.
The DA will keep pushing for this as it is the right of every child to learn in a safe environment, sheltered from intimidation and violence. We are also in the process of submitting a formal application to have certain basic education posts declared an essential service.
Many South African children have no other place to go during school hours and the recent spate of school violence against learners shows that a lack of supervision is a very serious problem. SADTU can no longer use the future of our children as bargaining chips.
The DA will ensure that the needs of learners are prioritised and their rights are upheld.
Issued by DA