Vuwani teachers urged to allay fears and return to work
As the Limpopo provincial government rushed to get pupils back in class in troubled Vuwani, most teachers stayed home, citing fear and intimidation as reasons for their absence from some schools this week.
“Teachers should remember that they are not on strike and should report those intimidating them to the police,” Limpopo provincial government spokesperson Phuti Seloba said in response. “We expect to see them back on duty on Monday.” It was not only government that criticised the poor teacher turnout and the reasons given.
Senior traditional leader Chief Livhuwani Matsila complained when he visited schools around his village and found no teacher in sight.
“Not even a single teacher came through to schools in this area and while they expressed fear, they are not saying exactly who is intimidating them. We need normal schooling and teachers back at work,” he said.
Pupils joined the community in cleaning up the ashes in the classrooms that were not totally torched. Some told City Press they were worried that there could be intimidation, but nothing has happened.
Teachers have been urged to report those intimidating them to the police. Their union, Sadtu, said it was not going to be easy for their members to report for duty “until their safety is assured”.
Secretary of the union in the Vhembe region Robert Maphaha said that they were not expecting teachers to report for duty in inaccessible villages, amid barricades and safety concerns.
– Poloko Tau