DA, Sadtu clash over matric results
A WAR of words has erupted between the DA and the South African Democratic Teachers Union (Sadtu) following this week’s release of the 2016 matric results.
The DA launched a scathing attack on Sadtu for poor performances in the Eastern Cape (59.3 percent pass rate), Limpopo (62.5 percent) and KwaZuluNatal (66.4 percent), and its basic education spokesperson in Parliament, Gavin Davies, has put the blame squarely at the door of Sadtu.
“It is no coincidence that the worst-performing provinces in matric 2016 were those where Sadtu is most dominant. The provincial education departments in the Eastern Cape, Limpopo and KwaZulu-Natal were all found by the ministerial task team in its ‘jobs for cash’ report to have been captured by Sadtu,” said Davies.
He stood by these statements when asked for comment by The Star, asserting that the union uses its political connections to influence teacher appointments.
“Sadtu also uses its influence to block accountability measures such as performance contracts for principals and the professional licensing of teachers. The ever-present threat of a Sadtu stayaway is another hindrance to holding poor-performing schools to account.”
Sadtu general secretary Mugwena Maluleke has rejected Davies’s views as those of an “arrogant white supremacist racist” who does not want to acknowledge the brutal legacy of apartheid.
“We must not forget that Limpopo, in particular, had three homelands – Lebowa, Venda and Gazankulu. None of those homeland governments, including the apartheid government, built a proper school in the rural areas. Infrastructure is a huge problem. The Eastern Cape and KZN also have a similar history,” Maluleke said.
On the “jobs for cash” allegations, Maluleke was firm that none of them had been proved in a court of law.
“The only province that was really affected by this ‘jobs for cash’ was KZN, with only five cases, and we have said that those people should be taken to court and be dealt with.
“But these cases are difficult even to bring to court. We, as Sadtu, must work with other unions and the Department of Basic Education to root out issues of corruption.”
Professor Elias Mathipe, of Unisa’s department of education, said the DA was correct in raising issues of corruption, but should not blame Sadtu for some of the poor performances found in the three provinces.
“(The year) 2016 was a peaceful schooling year where Sadtu members did not disrupt learning like it was done in the past. Also, the curriculum which was introduced about three years ago (Caps) has stabilised, and teachers are beginning to understand the requirements of the syllabus,” Mathipe said.
He concurred with Sadtu’s view that apartheid’s legacy continued to stymie the education system, adding that the three worst-performing provinces had significantly more matric candidates than other provinces.
VICIOUS DEBATE: Gavin Davies and Mugwena Maluleke