President Cyril Ramaphosa has urged South Africans to make the school environment a no-go area for criminals.
He was addressing the South African Democratic Teachers Union ( Sadtu) National General Council (NGC) in Kempton Park, east of Johannesburg.
Recently, learners and teachers have been attacked by criminals with others robbed, stabbed and even raped.
The three-day meeting is attended by ministers including Basic Education Minister Angie Motshekga, Home Affairs Minister Dr Aaron Motsoaledi and Labour and Employment Minister Thulas Nxesi.
The South African Communist Party (SACP) General Secretary, Solly Mapaila, and the Congress of South African Trade Unions (Cosatu) General Secretary, Solly Phetoe, are also in attendance.
Ramaphosa says, “We are concerned about the apparent increase in incidents of violence against teachers and learners, often perpetrated by criminals who come into schools. We need to work together, across society, to ensure that our schools are safe. This means that SGBs, CPFs, communities, local businesses, unions and the police need to work together to ensure that every single school in the country is a place where educators and learners feel secure and safe.”
World Teachers’ Day
Ramaphosa says as the country marks World Teachers’ Day on Wednesday, “we reflect on and celebrate the important role played by teachers throughout the world in advancing human progress”.
He says teachers are responsible for the development of the most valuable resource, which is children.
“More than any mineral or natural asset, more than any product or industry, the children of this country will shape our future and determine our fortunes. That places a great responsibility on teachers to educate and prepare our children well.”
Ramaphosa says, “It also places a great responsibility on the rest of society to support, respect and celebrate our teachers. This NGC takes place at an important time for our country, for our education system and for the teaching profession.”
VIDEO: ANC President Cyril Ramaphosa addresses the Sadtu’s National General Council Meeting:
The Education Minister has called the Sadtu NGC a great platform for government and employees to get on the same page in terms of policy ideas.
She says the council has given the employer a good sense of what the worker’s views are on issues affecting them.
“It’s a very beautiful interaction and sharing of ideas from their side, about what really are the policy issues they’re looking at. On the other side share with them what are government’s plans, though on an ongoing basis we interact but today we have a bigger audience than just union leadership, for us, it’s very important. And hence it’s very important to work with unions, to say, as unions how do we work together to make sure that indeed we continue to understand their ongoing challenges, and as partners work and find solutions.”