The Department of Education in KwaZulu-Natal this week met with members of the South African Democratic Teachers Union (Sadtu) to resolve issues brought up by the union in a recent memorandum.
KZN Member of the Executive Council (MEC) for Education Mbali Frazer said this week the department has been in contact with provincial and National Treasury to find resources that could meet the financial demands.
“We have received a confirmation letter of allocation of an adjusted budget to our department, even before the Sadtu march. We are now undergoing processes to distribute the funds to the schools as well as for the payment of 1.5% pay progression,” said Frazer.
Sadtu’s demands, as stated in the memorandum given to the government last week, were not entirely met by the provincial Department of Education.
The meeting took place in Durban on Monday.
Sadtu said the meeting meant the department was doing something to address the demands.
It said without the allocation of the funds, it would be difficult for children to write examinations.
“For instance, they indicated that national treasury has promised to give them money which they had used for the salary adjustments, also that they have already made a request for national to pay pay progression on their behalf and that they hope the first trench of financial allocations will be paid to schools by the 12th [November],” Sadtu KZN spokesperson Nomarashiha Caluza said.
The flow examinations for learners from Grades 8 to 11 have been disrupted in parts of the province as a result of the ongoing quarrel between the two organisations, local media reported.
Sadtu announced its members would be protesting last week, despite the National Senior Certificate (NSC) examinations in full swing, with nearly 200,000 learners across the province writing their final test.
This protest stemmed from grievances brought up by Sadtu, mainly those affecting the financial welfare of educators and the filling of vacant posts within the sector.
But some political parties in the province think the protest is not in the best interest of education.
The Inkatha Freedom Party (IFP) questioned the union's priorities in terms of developing the education sector and lining their own pockets, but agreed with the terms that Sadtu proposed for its educators/members.
“The IFP calls upon the KZN MEC for Education, Mbali Frazer, to urgently address teachers’ grievances, such as issues related to the payment of financial allocations to schools; payment of pay progression; adjustment of the Grade R stipend and their absorption; grading of schools; decentralisation of post-level one appointments; timely appointment of substitutes; and senior management posts,” the IFP in KZN said.
The Democratic Alliance’s (DA) Education spokesperson, Imran Keeka, said the futures of learners were not something to gamble with, but Sadtu’s actions were not unfounded, as there are numerous issues that need to be addressed in the education sector.
“While the Democratic Alliance supports Sadtu’s observations of poor working conditions for many of their members, it has a duty to ensure that learners succeed, as difficult as that may be right now. Our learners’ futures cannot be placed at risk.
“Equally, KZN Education MEC, Mbali Frazer, and her department need to ensure that the working environment is fair, properly staffed, and resourced,” Keeka said.