Listen to the future as these sheeple see it. Any opposition to the ANC will be dealt with, even if it means education (the purpose for their supposed existence, um, right) takes a back seat. Opponents will be "removed" etc. Not good reading.
By Thabo Mohlala
I recently attended a mass meeting convened by the South African Democratic Teachers’ Union (Sadtu) Gauteng central region at Orlando Communal Hall in Soweto.
I was intrigued by its recent shenanigans when they unashamedly opted to hold a meeting during school time to promote ANC policies at the expense of education.
I also wanted to hear how the union justifies this and just absorb the mood among the “comrades”.
And what I saw and heard there shocked me to the core. In as much as I am dead against their strategy of disrupting teaching and learning, I expected this assembly of erudite members of the community to discuss these controversial issues in a rational and cerebrally engaging fashion.
But it felt like one was attending one of those 1980s rallies where speakers would outdo one another with vacuous political platitudes to the uproarious clapping of hands and stomping of feet.
The atmosphere, tone and the reckless language used during the deliberations were a throwback to those old bad days. I actually battled to reconcile this with the noble profession of teaching as well as situate them in the current context.
No sooner had the meeting started than it quickly deteriorated into a typical electioneering rally with speaker after speaker spewing politically correct inanities and shibboleths. The atmosphere was electric and almost every word uttered was accompanied by “revolutionary songs”, deafening ululations and whistling by a delirious crowd.
Moss Senye, the regional chairperson, who was co-chairing on the day, set the tone with his outrageous remarks that basically promoted and encouraged members to defy or treat with disdain any form of authority.
“Members should refuse to sign early departure and late arrival registers because they are linked to apartheid education system,” said Senye to wild applause.
He then took a swipe at South African Council of Educators, a watchdog body for the teaching profession, saying “they are becoming a problem to Sadtu members”. Watch the space, he warned.
Senye then turned his attention to two unnamed principals based in Eldorado Park and Lenasia, who he said “do as they please”. “After the elections, comrades, we should plan how to get rid of them. And once we have removed them we must make sure we replace them with our own activists. Comrades, we must ensure we dominate every sphere of the education administration, starting from the head of department, district and province including national,” said Senye. Another roar and whistling from the crowd.
Entered Ronald Nyathi, a gaffe-prone official, who once declared that they would continue with their campaign until Jacob Zuma wins the elections.
He told the meeting that the union has just expelled two members from Alexandra after they were found to be working with Willie Madisha who has now joined Congress of the People.
“We cannot allow a situation where our time and resources are used to promote our political opposition, particularly Cope. So I want to warn those who sympathise with these two that we would know about it and once we find out we would make their lives difficult as well,” Nyathi said to another deafening whistling.
This sort of activity during school hours ironically goes against all the lofty ideals that Sadtu purports it stands for. Just last year the union endorsed the Quality Teaching and Learning Campaign, a critical call to action of all teachers to re-commit themselves to quality teaching and learning.
The campaign also seeks to arrest the declining standards of education where statistics shockingly revealed that our learners at the lower grades could hardly read or write. It also attempts to address the culture of indiscipline and impunity among teachers who have come to use unions as shelters.
In the final analysis one must wonder if after the storm (elections) members will come to their senses and make up for the lost teaching. Sadtu will have to work really hard to win back confidence and trust and assure parents they can secure the future of their children …
Mohlala is an M&G reporter