Tom Stokes, MPP
DA KZN Spokesperson on Education
The Democratic Alliance calls on KwaZulu-Natal Education MEC, Senzo Mchunu, to lay criminal charges against Sadtu after its members last week chased departmental administration workers out of their Pietermaritzburg-based offices and forced them to join a teacher union sit in.
According to a media report, the incident took place on Thursday last week. Staff were allegedly made to protest outside the chamber where KZN Education HOD, Dr Nkosinathi Sishi and union officials were engaged in discussions.
The DA is highly disturbed by the conduct of these Sadtu members.
The threat of strike action is a legitimate right of trade unions, no matter how inopportune or cynical such action may be to the welfare of our citizens and the country as a whole. But Sadtu’s resorting to violent intimidation of workers, to support what is evidently an uncoordinated and shambolic engagement with government officials, is a criminal act which must be investigated and disciplinary action taken.
That Sadtu choose to threaten strike action at this time of the year, when learners are at their most vulnerable in terms of preparing for exams, once again highlights the disastrous transformation of the teaching profession into a trade union movement.
The current reported strike issues are hardly of such pressing nature that they cannot be resolved by negotiation. One can only surmise that the motives behind the threats to disrupt schooling are political rather than conditions of employment issues.
The DA expects the MEC to take a firm stand and show that he will not tolerate his staff being dictated to by trade union members.