SADTU in KZN Statement on the appointment of the new MEC

12 August 2022

SADTU in KwaZulu Natal received the news that the KZN Premier has appointed a new MEC for the Department of Education. Firstly, SADTU appreciates the work done by former MEC Kwazi Mshengu since his appointment as the MEC for Education in the province. His open-door policy allowed all stakeholders to feel free to raise issues with him. This, SADTU believes was based on his understanding that all stakeholders are equally important and central in the delivery of quality public education. Honesty and transparency were his guiding principles which enabled him to survive in the department.

As a result, today SADTU welcomes the new MEC, Honourable Mbali Frazer, who is taking over a stable Department. By saying the Department is stable does not suggest that there are no challenges. The Department that she is inheriting is facing the effects of budget cuts which is why there are not enough teachers in schools, backlog in infrastructure, safety and security challenges in schools and many other known challenges.

The South African Democratic Teachers’ Union welcomes the Honourable MEC Frazer. SADTU is hopeful and has confidence that she will deliver on the demands of her department. As a teacher herself, the new MEC understands the Department and the needs of schools. SADTU hopes she will embrace unions and other stakeholders and work with them to further stabilise the department and ensure that the environment in schools is truly supportive of quality education delivery. The advice that SADTU wants to give to the new MEC is:

  • Prioritise the Quality Learning and Teaching campaign through mobilising all stakeholders and education loving people to participate in protecting schools. Making schools safe and ensuring that there are no lesson losses.
  • Respect collective bargaining and commit in improving the conditions of service of all workers including teachers, administration staff, Grade R practitioners, security, and general workers.
  • Ensure safety in schools and like the former MEC support the ‘I Am a School Fan’ campaign.
  • Fill all vacancies both teaching and non-teaching personnel as well as in offices
  • Continue with infrastructure improvement initiatives
  • Support the activity of the classroom. Understand that education is about teaching and learning and that teaching, and learning takes place only in the classroom hence the need to ensure that classrooms are safe havens for this process to effectively take place freely. All classrooms must have teachers and resources necessary to enhance teaching and learning.

These are some of the issues that must help the MEC as she starts looking at priorities for the Department. MEC Frazer as noted somewhere above, is a teacher by profession and has been in the management as the school principal. She led the Union-SADTU from lower structures up to the provincial level. MEC Mbali Frazer was the Provincial Gender Convener of SADTU, the position she held until her deployment to the legislature in 2009. Part of the struggles that she led under her gender desk was to ensure that teachers and Education workers and educationists were united and fought for a non-racial, non-sexist education system.

She comes at the right time when the Department, through the former MEC, is trying to tackle the issue of racism in schools. We implore her to continue where the former MEC left and see to it that the commission of enquiry to investigate racism in schools is established by the Premier.

Furthermore, the employment equity reports of the Department show that there is still a huge gap between men and women occupying high positions in the Department. Whilst women are in majority - from schools to the head office level - this is not reflected in senior positions. SADTU believes and hopes the MEC will view her appointment as an opportunity to continue with transformation programme she fought for when she was still a Provincial Gender Convener. SADTU as a Union pride itself for having produced a leader that has grown through the ranks to be where MEC Mbali Fraser is today. SADTU wishes her well in her new responsibilities.

THE END

ISSUED BY KZN SADTU SECRETARIAT

Provincial Secretary: Nomarashiya Caluza - 0826117027

Provincial Deputy Secretary: Jabulani Nxumalo - 0826117028