Vuwani teach­ers urged to al­lay fears and re­turn to work

CityPress - - News -

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

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