Educators Union of SA: Teachers have no choice but to arm themselves

The teacher’s union was reacting to the killing of an educator at the Masuku Primary School in KwaZulu-Natal on Tuesday.

Picture: SAPS

JOHANNESBURG - The Educators Union of South Africa said on Wednesday government was forcing teachers to arm themselves as it failed to guarantee their safety at schools.

The teacher’s union was reacting to the killing of an educator at the Masuku Primary School in KwaZulu-Natal on Tuesday.

General secretary Siphiwe Mpungose said teachers don't want to advocate violence but were left with no other choice.

“We are saying enough is enough; if they have to protect themselves, let it be. The teacher who was gunned down yesterday was shot at and tried to run. If he had a gun, he was going to shoot at them, and they were going to run away.”

But the department said if teachers armed themselves, violence in schools would only escalate.

Spokesperson Elijah Mhlanga said: “It is important that parents took responsibility for their own children and talk to them and raise them up properly. Violence is not the way of resolving conflict; if there is an issue, talk about it and rather agree to disagree because if one of you dies, then the other goes to jail. That doesn’t resolve anything.”

Meanwhile, Gauteng Education MEC Panyaza Lesufi said on Tuesday he was shocked that 13 pupils are awaiting court appearances for various crimes in the province.

Lesufi said the department was looking at amending their rules in order to take the appropriate action against those who are charged by the National Prosecuting Authority (NPA).

Lesufi was speaking at the memorial service for murdered 16-year-old Daniel Bakwela on Tuesday.

Bakwela was fatally stabbed by a fellow pupil at Forest High and was facing an armed robbery charge.

The MEC said it was unacceptable that so many school pupils were facing serious criminal charges.

He said they were mapping out a plan to deal with unruly pupils.

“So, we are now moving with amendments in terms of learner discipline to include regulations that force all learners who appear in court to declare to the department if they are appearing in court so that the department can take appropriate steps against them.”

Lesufi said those who failed to declare their ongoing cases will be disciplined.

“If you appear in court and you don’t declare to the department, it must be an offence and we must institute a disciplinary hearing against you.”

He added the education sector needed help to deal with these issues before they became a crisis.

(Edited by Mihlali Ntsabo)