Cosatu strike keeps children away from Soweto schools

27 September 2017 - 10:46 By Penwell Dlamini
There were no classes at the Isipho Primary School in Dlamini, Soweto, after pupils did not arrive at school due to the national Cosatu strike on Wednesday.
There were no classes at the Isipho Primary School in Dlamini, Soweto, after pupils did not arrive at school due to the national Cosatu strike on Wednesday.
Image: Masi Losi/Sunday Times

There was very little to no schooling in Soweto on Wednesday as teachers arrived to find no pupils to teach due to the march organised by Cosatu.

TimesLIVE visited schools in the country’s biggest township to see what the impact of the Cosatu march would have in teaching and learning.

There were no protests in all roads leading into the township and it seemed like an ordinary working day for Sowetans.

But for the teachers at the schools‚ it was a different story.

At Nonto Primary School‚ opposite Moroka Police Station‚ there were just five teachers who reported for duty and not a single pupil.

“We arrived on time to teach but as you can see there are no children to teach. We came to teach and are hoping that there will be children at a later stage‚” said one of the teachers.

At Isipho Primary School in Dlamini‚ it was the same story. There were a group of teachers ready to teach and about 20 pupils.

Teachers at Inkanyezi Primary School in Phiri, Soweto, bask in the sun after pupils failed to arrive for classes.
Teachers at Inkanyezi Primary School in Phiri, Soweto, bask in the sun after pupils failed to arrive for classes.
Image: Masi Losi/Sunday Times

“There are just a few children. We are here to work but as you can see the kids did not come to school. We are suspecting that the parents told the children not to come because of the march. We will remain at the school to ensure the safety of the children that made it here. We can’t leave them on their own. Some of the parents lock their homes in the morning when the leave for work. We have to remain and make sure that children are taken care of‚ for the remainder of the day‚” said one of the teachers.

The teachers told TimesLIVE that they saw messages on social networks warning that there would be no teaching because of the march but they still came because of the no work‚ no pay principle.

But Seana-Marena High School in Mapetla was a different picture. Only one teacher did not report for duty. Actually‚ the teachers were about to have a staff meeting when TimesLIVE arrived.

“It is a normal day for us. All the teachers are here with just an exception for one teacher. Most of the learners are not here because they have finished their exams. Later the Grade 12 learners will arriving… ‚” explained one of the teachers.

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Enkanyezi Primary School in Phiri was a totally different picture. The gate at the school’s entrance was locked. Two people‚ believed to be teachers‚ were busking in the sun and only two pupils could be seen in the school’s playground.

The march against state capture organised by Cosatu and supported by the ANC in Gauteng‚ is expected to bring the Johannesburg CBD to a standstill. In the morning there were no incidents of intimidation or violence which were reported.

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