What SADTU (COSATU) is doing to the education of black children, today in South Africa is immoral. Walking out of the class to fight political battles with ANC (Tripartite Alliance Partner) and using the education and future of black children as a bargaining chip, cannot be justified.
Why would I say this? Two reasons: 1) There are other strategies for addressing political differences. The same SADTU (COSATU) is in alliance with the ANC. As ruling tripartite alliance (with SACP) they have a direct influence on who appoints Ministers and DGs. They COSATU leadership were at Mangaung and some were elected on the ANC NEC. What we see today is part of a political battle within the alliance. They know that there are various avenues to exercise their rights within the alliance structures, as well as parliament. Of course, whilst there were no political avenues before 1994, because of the systematic exclusion of black people from formal parliamentary political processes, there was the political and moral imperative for extra-parliamentary protest. Today things are fundamentally different. Those who don't like the way the ANC rule can re-organise themselves and either form a different party or they can vote for a different party. The strategy of sacrificing education and the future of black children today, is politically and morally unjustified.
2) It will only be the poor, black child who is sacrificed. The SADTU membership is predominantly in majority black schools, in townships and rural areas. A minuscule percentage is in the so-called model-C schools. The consequence of this is simple: It is only black, poor learners who will suffer today. SADTU argues that they can sacrifice black poor children, because there will not be a public outcry. What they are saying is this: who cares in any case for the education of black poor children?
Don't be fooled by the argument that the aim of today's action (to remove the minister and her DG) will ultimately benefit the black learner. There is no guarantee that a new ANC minister or DG will do any better. The question is what will benefit the black learner (any learner!). My view is simply that learners benefit from competent teachers who are in class to teach. Ultimately, it will be the office-bearers of today's march who will benefit. They will show their strength in the numbers, put on their struggle T-shirt and beret for the day, make some radical statements and as a reward, they will become ANC MP's, some DG's and perhaps Ministers. They will sit where Angie and Bobby sit today. By then, a new generation will again flood the streets, whilst in the meantime the new DG's and Ministers, now with suits and ties, will drink their fine whiskey and might sometimes (through the darkened windows of their German sedans and SUV's) scoff and laugh at the poor sods, those the black children in the townships, who will still roam the streets.But ultimately, we should be blamed. Yes, we should be blamed for keeping quiet about this. We knew what was happening, yet we kept quiet. We kept quiet because SADTU was mos "our people". Well, they're not anymore. They're in it for the fine whiskey and the German sedans. But those children in the streets, the ones who are drunk and high on weed, who run riot in the streets... they are the chickens that will come home to roost.