THE ANC in the Eastern Cape has proposed that teaching posts be filled every three years, instead of annually, as part of solving the ongoing impasse between the department and unions.
The dispute over how many vacant posts there are in the province has resulted in disruption at schools since the late 1990s.
The number of posts the department declares is usually lower than what the unions, particularly Sadtu, believe it is.
On Monday the ANC invited Sadtu’s national working committee members to a meeting with alliance partners in the province as well as other stakeholders such as parents and the progressive youth alliance.
Sadtu’s delegation was led by national president Thobile Ntola, the ANC’s by provincial chairman Phumulo Masualle and the SACP’s by provincial chairman Zolile Mrara.
ANC provincial secretary Oscar Mabuyane said the proposal to have a bulletin reviewed every three years arose from an earlier proposal at an education summit in East London last December.
“We are saying let us put aside our differences and have a long-term solution to this problem,” said Mabuyane.
“It may be a two-, three-, or five-year programme, but what everyone agrees on is we can’t have the union and the department dealing with staff establishments every year. We can’t afford that.”
He said this was the practice in other provinces, including KwaZulu-Natal.
“If it brings stability in education in other provinces, why can’t we introduce it here in the Eastern Cape?”
All parties in the discussions welcomed the breakthrough, including education MEC Mandla Makupula and Sadtu.
Sadtu provincial secretary Mncekeleli Ndongeni said the long-term bulletin was “most welcome”, and in fact Sadtu had made a similar proposal a few years ago, but it fell by the wayside.
“We appreciate the spirit the ANC brought to the Monday meeting, and we are positive the proposals will be taken seriously by the department, and for once we will have a long-term solution to our differences,” said Ndongeni.
SACP provincial secretary Xolile Nqatha also said the three-year agreement was welcome.
“It will contribute to stabilising education because the current policy that results in pupils changing schools, and subsequently teachers having to follow them, contributes to instability in the province.”
Sadtu is at loggerheads with the department over the movement of excess teachers to schools where the department says their services are most needed.
It launched a campaign at the opening of the school year two weeks ago, and declared none of its members would move from their current schools unless the department conducted a scientific study to determine the number of pupils and teachers in schools.
Makupula intervened in the Dordrecht area last week after parents refused to send their children to school unless vacant posts were filled.
Ndongeni said Sadtu was willing to waive their earlier standpoint of not cooperating with the department’s excess teacher programme on condition Makupula also came on board and respected the spirit of finding a solution as discussed at the Monday meeting.
“Everyone has to be committed to finding a solution, and not just talk but act accordingly,” said Ndongeni.
Makupula said: “As education head, any intervention which will bring stability to the department is welcome. This proposal, too, is welcome.” — email@example.com