DA declares war against Sadtu

23 September 2015 - 15:25 By Jan-Jan Joubert

The Democratic Alliance (DA) has declared war on the South African Democratic Teachers Union (Sadtu)‚ laying a complaint against the country's largest teachers' union for sabotaging the education of South Africa's poorest children. The DA laid the complaint with the Human Rights Commission (HRC)‚ based on a variety of actions by Sadtu in the recent past.Its education spokesperson‚ Annette Lovemore‚ said these actions included Sadtu's blocking of attempted measures to assess teachers’ performances and the union’s opposition to tests to ensure that principals were competent.Other actions the DA complained about were:* Sadtu's actions‚ together with other teachers' unions‚ to obstruct the annual national assessment tests‚ which measure pupils' competency levels in grades 3‚ 6 and 9;* Sadtu strike action during school hours‚ which robs children of the opportunity to be taught in class;* Sadtu's use of children to participate in its marches;* Sadtu's holding the country hostage by choosing key pressure periods such as exam time to push for its demands to be met;* Sadtu's interference in the management of the education system through the alleged jobs-for-cash scheme and allegations of violence‚ especially in KwaZulu-Natal; and* Sadtu's contribution to education inequality because its actions invariably target the poorest students. Wealthier areas of the country are generally served by other teachers' unions‚ who do not disrupt schooling as much.DA leader Mmusi Maimane announced that the complaint to the HRC requested that the commission:* Produce a full report on the extent to which Sadtu violates learners' constitutional right to a quality education;* Take steps to stop Sadtu from violating those rights; and* Make recommendations to the government to ensure that such violations do not recur.Maimane said although the DA wanted action to be taken against Sadtu‚ it was not in favour of education being declared an essential service because its disruption was not directly life-threatening.Lovemore said that the DA was in favour of the tweaking of the annual national assessments‚ and proposed the Western Cape model‚ which includes annual independent systemic testing - tests which are independently set and marked‚ and offer better comparisons between different peer groups and school grades.

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