NATU’s new head takes tough stance
NATIONAL Teachers Union (NATU) has a new president who has promised more fireworks.
The outspoken Allen Thompson was elected unopposed during the union’s three-day national conference, held at the University of Zululand.
The former NATU’s deputy president succeeded the long serving president, Siphosethu Ngcobo, who was unable to stand for another term.
Thompson recently survived a suspected assassination attempt on his life, when he was hijacked and shot by unknown gunmen while driving near Durban.
In his inaugural address, Thompson vowed to take the Grade R teachers’ fight on until the Department of Basic Education gives them what they deserve.
‘We are worried that very little has been done to improve the lives of our Grade R teachers.
‘The salaries they receive can’t be compared to the amount of work they do on a daily basis.
‘We want them to be paid decent salaries and be given the recognition they deserve.
‘We will also be pushing for the improvement of our schooling system, which is failing to address issues such as safety.
‘It can’t be correct to have one security guard looking after the entire school.
‘We are well aware that schools are no longer credible institutions of learning. They have been turned into something where anarchy rules.
‘We also have an issue of vacant teaching posts, which are not being filled, while we have thousands of qualified teachers who are without work.
‘These are some of the issues we are planning to discuss with the government. If we are ignored, we will use the language that the government easily understands, which is to take to the streets.
‘We are serious about changing the schooling system to be what it was before.
‘It also worries us that when corporal punishment was abolished at schools, there was generally no replacement for it, which is why we have come up with a document, with clear guidelines on how to discipline learners.
‘This document will soon be released and we are planning to engage School Governing Body members to have a say in it. We will be doing this with an understanding that education is a societal issue, which needs the involvement of all stakeholders,’ he said.
NATU’s new president Allen Thompson greeting union members after his election at the University of ZululandThando Ndlovu