Mpumalanga United Unemployed Educators Forum calls for equal opportunities

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Displeased teachers have called on the Department of Basic Education in the Mpumalanga province to take their grievances seriously. The teachers, under the Mpumalanga United Unemployed Educators Forum have once again marched to the Mpumalanga government offices in Mbombela to hand over a memorandum of demands.

These self-funded unemployed graduates are calling for equal opportunities with their Fundza Lushaka counterparts. They say, they have been unemployed for years while job opportunities are granted only to government bursary holders.

This is their third march since 2021.

Since they have graduated, some have been job hunting for almost 10 years. They are accusing the department of overlooking them.

“We are bringing a memorandum for the third time and our reasons are specifically because Fundza Lushaka is being preferred out of all bursaries and the self-funded. It is sad in the directive that Fundza Lushaka is placed with access educators and another thing is that posts are being advertised internally within school WhatsApp groups. Another thing is we are being victimized by school principals and circuit managers,” says Idah Khoza who has been unemployed for eight years.

Lucky Sambo is a Deputy Chairperson of the School Governing Body (SGB) at a local school in Nkomazi. He says the school has a shortage of staff members.

“There are teacher posts at the school, as we speak the learners don’t attend geography classes, because of the shortage of teachers while they don’t want to employ teachers,” says Sambo.

Form of Prejudice

The South African Democratic Teachers Union (Sadtu) is urging the department to rethink the decision of prioritising Fundza Lushaka students only.

“If a student is not from Mpumalanga but is holding a Fundza Lushaka bursary is considered for employment that is creating some form of prejudice for students especially those at the local level to get employment. We support this initiative, and we want the employer to rethink this process and ensure that students who have studied with their own means must also be considered for employment,” says Walter Hlayise, Sadtu Provincial Secretary: Mpumalanga.

The Deputy Director General of Education in the Province has received the memorandum.

“We are receiving it on behalf of the premier. It will go to the HOD, the MEC and the Premier. We will make sure that in the stipulated time we give a response,” says Senzangakhona Mkhwanazi, DDG Education: Mpumalanga.

The disgruntled teachers have vowed to disrupt the final year examinations should they not get a response after seven working days.