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Union to protest over Abet educators

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Herbert Rachuene
>>herbert@mailbox.co.za

The South African Teachers Union (Sadtu) is planning a second protest march to the Department of Education in support of Adult Education and Training (AET). On 28 April Sadtu members handed a memorandum of concern to Premier Stan Mathabatha which, among others, included the deplorable conditions of Adult Education and Training educators in the province and the unruly position adopted by the Department of Education on the matter.
Sadtu Provincial Secretary, Matome Raphasha said they have given the Department 14 working days to respond to the memorandum and if they don’t get adequate response by tomorrow (Friday) they will take further action. “We are going to embark on a work-to-rule strike action at all the schools if they don’t respond to our demands,” Raphasha said.
“The issues of AET educators has been on the table since 2010 and the department has been dilly dallying or unwilling to address it. The AET educators must be put on Persal and the benefits that should accrue for them like the medical aid subsidy, pension fund or alternatively 37% in lieu of these benefits,” Raphasha said.
Other issues stipulated in the memorandum are the non-filling of vacant posts and funded promotional posts by the department, failure by the department to provide a clear cut infrastructure plan to deal with old and dilapidated buildings, which have become a hazard to learners and educators.
Spokesperson for the Department of Education, Paena Galane said the issue regarding AET is no longer their responsibility but that of the Department of Higher Education and Training. “Even in our budget vote we stated that AET is no longer the priority of our Department. However, we will attend to all the concerns and we commit to respond in time,” Galane said.
In response to Galane’s statement, Sowell Tjebane, Deputy Provincial Secretary of Sadtu said: “Indeed the department is correct to say that AET educators have, with effect from 1 April 2015, been migrated to Department of Higher Education. We have always been saying that the Limpopo Department of Education’s motive of delaying the resolution of the matter by dragging it on unnecessarily was precisely achieving this purpose. The unfortunate part is that the issue of AET educators has been lumped together with the Limpopo Department of Education budgetary constraints thus rendering them perpetual slaves until Department of Higher Education can review their conditions of service in 2016. This goes to show the dire state in which the Limpopo Department of Education finds itself in. We have always said that if no intervention is done pretty soon, we believe that it is on the verge of collapsing”.