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Teachers at Joburg autism school protest over poor working conditions

The teachers, aligned to the South African Democratic Teachers Union, were holding up placards outside the security gate at the premises in Parktown.

Teachers affiliated to Sadtu at Johannesburg School for Autism on 21 August 2019 demonstrate against poor working conditions. Picture: EWN.

JOHANNESBURG - Pupils at the Johannesburg School for Autism were left in the care of skeleton staff as several teachers left their classrooms to demonstrate against poor working conditions.

The teachers, aligned to the South African Democratic Teachers Union, were holding up placards outside the security gate at the premises in Parktown on Wednesday.

Parents said they were concerned about the wellbeing of their children as most of the specialised teachers were not in their classrooms.

Teachers were singing and waving placards criticising management claiming the right processes were not being followed for new appointments.

A makeshift cardboard coffin read “rest in peace”, suggesting that they want certain management members to step down.

Teachers who spoke to Eyewitness News on condition of anonymity said they raised these issues with the Gauteng Education Department, but nothing changed.

“The funds of the black child are not used properly and no one wants to listen to our cries,” said one teacher.

“We are doing this as the last resort, we have tried everything,” another teacher added.

They said teachers who had been identified to stay with the children during the strike were battling to cope with the workload due to the complexity of the children's needs.

A parent who has a four-year-old autistic son attending the school told EWN she feared for her son’s safety due to a lack of staff at the time of the strike.

The Gauteng Education Department is investigating the complaints.

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