Zille's refugee remarks smack of racism - SADTU

Union rejects DA leader's claim that it is denying pupils right to learn

SADTU reacts to Zille's refugee remarks

DA leader Helen Zille's labelling of learners from the Eastern Cape who have relocated in the Western Cape in order to access schooling, as refugees, smirks of racism.

Zille should be ashamed of using a human right - education on children to score cheap political points. Zille is caught up in the past and still wants to take this country back to the Bantustan era which divided us according to ethnicity. Blacks had to obtain special permits to go to other provinces and were forced to live in areas segregated according to race. That era is gone and will never come back.

Zille never called the many whites who "migrated" to George, Knysna and Harmanus regions of the Western Cape refugees.

South Africa is a unitary country where every province is bound by the republic so Zille cannot act as if the Western Cape is exclusively hers and other citizens - in fact the majority of this country - are being done a favour in that province. We have every right to feel at home in any part of this country.

Contrary to her claims that learners are fleeing the Eastern Cape in order to access better education, people would still move irrespective of conditions they face. It is their right to move or reside wherever they like as this country belongs to all who live in it.

In her tirade on Human Rights Day, Zille stooped to her lowest when she accused SADTU of denying pupils the right to learn. Zille represents the capitalists and the elite who have no experience of teaching in schools without resources, she has no inclination of school as a mud structure, overcrowding, being in school with no sanitation and electricity.

She further accused unions of being used as a launching pad for political careers rather than to resolve honest disputes of workers.

As for SADTU, we are not ashamed of being part of the Tripartite Alliance (ANC, COSATU and SACP) and we still perform impeccably as a union. When President Jacob Zuma commended us during his State Of The Nation Address, he was not trying to curry favour but his assertions were based on the work done by the teacher unions. Factual information exists that teacher unions are in collaboration with the department of education in training teachers in the implementation of CAPS.

We are committed to the Quality Learning and Teaching Campaign which calls on all stakeholders in education to play their part to towards attaining quality education.

 President Zuma is not afraid of Mangaung. He has stated on record that Mangaung will come and go. We also say he should not be afraid, we are impressed with his record and we encourage him to continue to deliver to the poor.

President Zuma has an international record in support of education. In 2010, he popularized education during the Soccer World Cup when he together with FIFA spearheaded the 1Goal Campaign for access to education.

For the record, According to the 2010 Congress resolution, our support for the ANC still stands and will remain whether Zille likes it or not.

The working class, the poor and progress people should not be fooled by the "madam."

Statement issued by SACP General Secretary, Mugwena Maluleke, March 22 2012

Click here to sign up to receive our free daily headline email newsletter