NATU’s new head takes tough stance

Zululand Observer - Monday - - ZO NEWS - Thando Ndlovu

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

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