Unions have mixed reaction to SONA

Friday, February 15, 2013

Pretoria – The South African Democratic Teachers Union (SADTU) has welcomed President Jacob Zuma’s 2013 State of the Nation Address, in particular plans to improve maths, science and technology which will involve the establishment of a national task team to strengthen the implementation of the Science, Maths and Technology Strategy.

SADTU Secretary, Mugwena Maluleke on Friday said the union felt government should put more resources in the training and development of teachers.

“The introduction of indigenous languages as a medium of teaching will help improve the pass rate of these subjects. We welcome the prioritisation of teachers` terms and conditions of employment through the establishment of the presidential remuneration commission.  We welcome the mention of Adult Basic Education and Training (ABET) and Early Childhood Development (ECD) especially Grade R,” he said.

Maluleke, however, noted that the President’s assertion lacked concrete plans to address unacceptable conditions of employment for ABET and ECDs sectors.

He urged government to ensure that all teachers in Grade R are appointed in the formal education sector with full terms and conditions of employment.

The National Education Health and Allied Workers Union (Nehawu) welcomed the announcement on the creation of a National Health Insurance (NHI) Fund in 2014 and the undertaking to accelerate and intensify progress in the pilot districts.

The union, however, was concerned about the creeping “piecemeal approach” in policy initiation on the part of government when it comes to the implementation of the NHI.

“There is a need to create certainty by making public the white paper as a policy framework, guarantee transparency, creates clarity around the monitoring processes and consulting the relevant constituencies.

“We are looking forward to a report by the Minister of Health in his Budget Vote with regard to the state of progress in the pilot districts,” said Nehawu General Secretary, Fikile Majola.

The union was disappointed with the silence on measures to improve the management of hospitals. “We hope that the minister will outline government’s plans in this regard, beginning with the management of academic hospitals that are directly attached to medical schools.”

The announcement on the start of construction of new universities in the Northern Cape and Mpumalanga provinces was welcomed.  

Nehawu however, called for proper engagement with the stakeholders in the higher education sector, in particular organized labour, students and communities. - SAnews.gov.za