Dr Mamphela Ramphele’s derogatory and ill informed remarks cannot go unchallenged. To be labeled drunkards, hooked on drugs, we can’t take care of ourselves and are deep in debt, is beyond insult. It is blatant defamatory.

For a person who once said Bantu Education was better than the current system, we should not be surprised by such assertions because it proves our suspicion that she has a deep hatred of our government and any power in the hands of a black majority.

It would be interesting to know how many schools she has visited in order come to this conclusion. We challenge Mamphele to bring evidence in the form of facts and figures to support her accusations    
Our members are full professionals who work and try to do their best working under hard and trying circumstances mostly in far-flung areas where the media do not bother to set their foot in.

Mamphele further goes on to compare us with the National Professional Teachers’ Organisation of SA (Naptosa).  If Naptosa has the credibility she claims it has, why is it not attracting more members? Why is SADTU the majority teacher union?

As SADTU we have always maintained that we should not apportion the blame for the failure of education in this country to one sector but for all the stakeholders to take the responsibility because -  as the saying  goes – it takes a village to raise a child. It is for this reason that our government has declared education a societal matter and has launched its quality learning and teaching campaign which SADTU is a signatory to.

This campaign calls for the involvement of government, teachers, learners, parents and communities, encouraging them to take their roles and responsibilities seriously. If this were to happen, we would see sufficiently resourced schools, good working conditions and on-going teacher development and training leading to improved results.

Contrary to the propaganda that we have abandoned the interests of the poor and working class child, we have made child central to our programmes. It is a well known fact that very little teacher training took place after the closure of teacher colleges. This affected the number of teachers who were produced by the system as well as the quality of teaching. As SADTU we have therefore launched our Curtis Nkondo Development Institute to train and develop teachers in this ever changing education environment in order to ensure that the right of a working class and poor child to quality education is protected.  We do this as we continue to fight for better conditions of service for our members.

Our understanding is that conducive work conditions are critical ingredients required for improved learner outcomes desperately needed by the country.

We have always insisted that no child must be subjected to a demoralised, under compensated and under trained educator as this may rob her of the constitutionally guaranteed right to quality education.

Written by

SADTU General Secretary
Mugwena Maluleke