Tom Stokes, MPP
DA KZN Spokesperson on Education
AN attempt by Sadtu, to shift the blame for poor leadership from principals to ward and circuit managers, again reveals the union’s stubborn stance when it comes to acknowledging the disruptive effect that teacher unions, and particularly Sadtu, are having on the day-to-day administration of schools.
Sadtu’s response follows an urgent appeal by KZN Education MEC, Senzo Mchunu, to principals to realign their allegiance from the union to the department. Sadtu is partially correct in identifying the lack of leadership at ward and circuit level, a failing that needs urgent attention particularly in enforcing accountability on these deficient officials. But unions need to admit that the present power relationships are detrimental to the effective management of schools and must change.
The DA believes that the scope of teacher unions should be confined to conditions of service for teachers at national level – and not shop stewards in staffrooms at school level. It is patently obvious that where this “shop steward mentality” is powerful and where principals hold allegiance to the union, the rights of parents and learners are also suppressed. Who, within these schools, represents the taxpayer, the parent and the child?
The DA views the call by MEC Mchunu as an honourable and logical attempt to right the current skew in power relationships within our province’s schools.