Home South African Sadtu ‘really not happy’ with Siviwe Gwarube as Minister of Basic Education

Sadtu ‘really not happy’ with Siviwe Gwarube as Minister of Basic Education

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The South African Democratic Teachers Union – the largest trade union for teachers in South Africa – has quickly expressed unhappiness over the appointment of the DA’s parliamentary chief whip, Siviwe Gwarube, as the new Basic Education Minister in the government of national unity.

The DA’s parliamentary chief whip, Siviwe Gwarube, was announced as the new Minister of Basic Education. File picture: Timothy Bernard, Independent Newspapers

THE SOUTH African Democratic Teachers Union (Sadtu) – the largest trade union for teachers in South Africa – has quickly expressed unhappiness over the appointment of the DA’s parliamentary chief whip, Siviwe Gwarube, as the new Basic Education Minister in the government of national unity’s national executive announced by President Cyril Ramaphosa on Sunday night.

In the May 29 general elections, the ANC received its worst election result since apartheid ended 30 years ago in South Africa. The ANC garnered 40% of the vote, losing its absolute majority in Parliament.

Earlier this month, Iit was reported that Ramaphosa had officially begun his second term after his party formulated the government of national unity (GNU), incorporating its decades-old rival, the DA, and other smaller parties, including the Inkatha Freedom Party (IFP), the Patriotic Alliance (PA) and the GOOD Party.

Reacting to the Cabinet announcement, the general secretary of Sadtu, Mugwena Maluleke, said Gwarube’s appointment to lead the Basic Education Department is problematic.

The general secretary of Sadtu, Mugwena Maluleke. File Picture

“This is an affront, the appointment of Siviwe, because in the manifesto of the DA, the DA is creating a narrative based obviously on ideologies that the DA believes in, that Sadtu is a stumbling block to quality education.

“The DA has been clear in terms of rejecting those transformational policies that the Department of Basic Education wanted to implement, including rejecting the Bela Bill that basically wanted to help us with issues of language which should be addressed to deal with discrimination in our schools based on language.”

Maluleke said the appointment of the DA minister “who does not believe in transformation, does not believe in equity” has upset the union.

“We really are not happy, I must indicate, with the department being headed by a person from the DA, irrespective of whether black, white or brown, that is not an issue. The issue is that those (people) believe in the ideology that the DA still has, that the poor and the working class must always accept the inferior status and this white supremacy mentality has governed the DA throughout and we have seen it even in the letters that have been leaked, the statements by Helen Zille – obviously that is their culture, their belief, their ideology and that is the issue,” said Maluleke.

He said Sadtu fears Gwarube will attempt to repeal the Basic Education Law Amendment (Bela) Bill, which was passed by the National Assembly and awaits Ramaphosa’s signature.

The Bella Bill was vehemently opposed by the DA.

“We know that she is going to attempt to repeal, to reverse that because the DA did not support it. The president has not signed it, and we wonder why the president has not signed it because the president signed a number of bills just before the elections, and only left this one out.

The Democratic Alliance opposing the Bela Bill at Parliament. File picture: Armand Hough, Independent Newspapers

“It leaves us with a question mark on why this one (Bill) was particularly left out.

“The DA has made it clear that its deputies (deputy ministers) are going to be different from other deputies. They will also have the credentials of being in Cabinet. What stops us from believing that the DA will do whatever they want to do with basic education, irrespective of what the president has said,” Maluleke added.

On Sunday night, Ramaphosa, re-elected for a second term after the ANC lost its outright majority, unveiled his new Cabinet that consists of members of the DA and various other political parties who have signed on to be part of the government of national unity.

Despite a last-minute push by Julius Malema’s EFF to be part of the government of national unity – with a condition that the GNU must not include the DA and Freedom Front Plus – Ramaphosa struck a deal with DA leader John Steenhuisen, who secured six Cabinet posts for the DA.

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