IN QUOTES | Teacher safety & corruption: Five key takeouts from Ramaphosa's Sadtu address
President Cyril Ramaphosa on Tuesday paid tribute to teachers who are working hard during the Covid-19 pandemic, reiterating the government's commitment to keep them safe.
In his address at the celebration of the SA Democratic Teachers Union's (Sadtu) 30th anniversary, Ramaphosa said the government would provide adequate personal protective equipment (PPE) to prevent the transmission of the coronavirus and possible related deaths.
Here are important takeaways from his address:
True nation builders
Ramaphosa said teachers displayed their passion for empowering the nation when they returned to work during a global pandemic. He said the concerns and anxiety of teachers who were reluctant to do so was understandable and justified.
“Your dedication to the success of our children and the future of our country has been proven time and time again, but more so during the Covid-19 pandemic. For the sake of our children and their academic progress, you braved the dangers and risks posed by Covid-19 and you returned to the classroom when asked to do so.”
The president conveyed condolences to the families of teachers who died from Covid-19 related complications and sent well wishes to those who are still recovering.
“We remember and pay tribute to those teachers who have succumbed to the virus and those who are still not well. I also wish those who are infected a speedy recovery so they are able to return to work to do what they love most.”
Safety of teachers is paramount
Ramaphosa said teachers, pupils and staff are being provided with all necessary protective equipment. He said the government is working "tirelessly” to resolve issues around infrastructure, particularly sanitation and provision of adequate learning material.
“I urge you to be vigilant. We must keep ourselves and others safe by continuing to observe the regulations around social distancing and good hygiene protocols at all times. We are acutely aware of the many challenges that make it difficult for our teachers to do their work.”
The president urged stakeholders in the education system to play their role in reporting and rooting out the scourge of corruption, which he said threatens democracy. He said government is dedicated to ensuring the protection of the rights of workers.
“There is continued pressure that we all face from our people about eradicating corruption, and we must respond to what our people are saying. The government takes seriously the rights of our workers, the rights that were won through struggle.”
Tribute to the union
Ramaphosa praised the union for its tenacity in tacking challenges over the past three decades.
“It's possible sometimes that you may think you're not appreciated, but I want to assure you that you are appreciated.
“Today, at 30 years, we want to say: Long live Sadtu! Continue doing the work you're doing. Keep your union progressive, united and effective - even as we deal with the challenges our nation and our people face.”