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SADTU pencils Siviwe Gwarube as ‘anti-transformative’

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By Daanyaal Matthews

Trade Union SADTU (South African Democratic Teachers Union) has come out in staunch criticism of the appointment of Siviwe Gwarube as Minister of Basic Education following rumours that the Democratic Alliance (DA) may work to rescind the BELA Bill. SADTU, being the largest trade union for teachers in the Republic, has argued that Gwarube is ‘anti-transformative’.

The national media liaison for SADTU, Nomusa Cembi, has argued that Gwarube’s appointment as a member of the DA would work against the interests of educators, more specifically the trade union, an argument strengthened by the DA’s manifesto that specifically lists the trade union as one of the reasons the education sector has faltered.

“I believe no other party in their manifestos has put the name of an organisation in their manifesto. So, in its manifesto, the DA said they believed that SADTU is responsible for the failures in the education system because the ANC has allowed our education system to be captured by the vested interests of SADTU, and they want to deal with SADTU,” said Cembi.

The tension between SADTU and the DA was feared prior to the announcement of the ministers of cabinet, as some theorised that the clashing ideologies of the ANC and its trade union compatriots would result in systematic inefficiencies. However, for Hendrick Makaneta, an education activist and Deputy Chairperson of the Foundation for Education and Social Justice Africa, SADTU can rely upon the established agreements, stating:

“SADTU also knows that there are conditions of service that have been agreed upon already; I don’t think the new minister can just come and change things drastically without consulting with relevant stakeholders. Even when it comes to legislation, the consultation process is very key to making sure that everyone has input. I really don’t think there is much to worry about, but I think we need, as President Ramaphosa said, to embrace the government of national unity.”

The President’s call for all to embrace the Government of National Unity (GNU) for the betterment of the Republic’s future has largely been welcomed, however, the rhetoric originating from the DA’s tent, specifically those of Helen Zille, has raised concerns from organisations like SADTU, with Nomusa arguing that the utterances are ‘disturbing’.

“What unsettles us are the utterances by Helen Zille, who keeps going on about the fact that they want to put a stamp on the portfolios that they are going to take, and we really wonder, what does this mean in the spirit of what they agreed to in the government of national unity?” questioned Cembi.

Image: Twitter@SadtuNational


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