We are excited to announce that our protest action on Tuesday has resulted in a great victory for learners at Sizimisele. This morning when we went to class at our school, Sizimisele Technical School, we were pleased to find that our four teachers had returned. We were given new timetables. And the district director Mr Melvin Caroline was also at the school to meet with our principal.
On Tuesday we went to picket at the Western Cape Provincial Legislature after we had gone over a month without teachers. We held two protests before Tuesday’s action, and received nothing but broken promises from the WCED.
On our way to the legislature we were stopped by police. We refused to leave until our demands were heard. The WCED came to where we were being held and heard our demands. Most important of these demands was getting teachers to teach and a catch up plan for our June exams. Following our march the WCED gave us a letter saying the following would happen:
1. The 6 teachers employed by the school would be paid from January
2. 4 of the 6 teachers would be retained and paid from date of employment
3. A catch up plan would be in the process of being formulated
4. The timetable would be reorganized
5. The district management would be at the school Thursday Morning
We can confirm that most of our demands are being met. Our teachers were in class this morning, we were given new timetables and the District Director was at the school this morning. Our teachers confirm that they were promised pay for their work in the first term and they will sign contracts to start working and being paid from today.
But we are concerned about the catch up plan. It seems that this will rely on the efforts of our teachers who will be working with us after school and weekends and it seems they will not getting paid for this.
When we got up to go home the police acted violently towards us even though our protest was peaceful. We were charged with shields, hit and kicked by policemen. However, this did not discourage us in any way.
We must say that we were shocked and scared that 20 years into democracy when black children march for their right to education, they can be stopped by violent police, intimidated and told that they are disrupting business in town. These police know that there is unequal education, that township schools suffer without the resources of suburban schools. Had we not stood up for what we earnestly believe in, we would still not have teachers. We are 6 weeks behind with our school work, but at least now there is some hope of passing this academic year.
We have won a powerful victory today and have new hope for our education.
For more information contact:
Asanele Mvendaba (learner, grade 12)
Kedebone Legoale (learner, grade 11)
Lindokuhle Ncalu (learner, grade 11)
Nishal Robb (EE head of Campaigns)