The Democratic Alliance in Gauteng has noted with great concern calls by the Congress of South African Students (COSAS) in the greater Johannesburg region for private schools to be torched and vandalised. This is a reckless and criminal call that assaults the country’s education system, its future, as well as the inalienable constitutional right to education.
COSAS, like the South African Democratic Teachers’ Union (SADTU), is silent when issues relating to the poor quality of education, abuse by teachers and unfair labour practices are raised by both teachers and students.
Any call to burn schools, public or private, should be strongly condemned by all peace-loving and democratic South Africans.
Whatever issues COSAS has with private schools should be directed to the relevant institutions and authorities, and by means of intellectual and robust engagement, not criminal behaviour.
The national leadership of COSAS must act strongly by distancing itself from the comments of its members and take the necessary disciplinary action to send a clear message that any assault on education will never be tolerated.
The energies of COSAS should rather be directed towards those who undermine the future of the youth by delivering poor quality education, these culprits include Departments of Education and the cash for jobs scandal facilitated by teachers’ union – SADTU.
The solution to bettering the quality of education does not lie with the destruction of private schools, it lies with ensuring the Departments of Education at both National and Provincial levels are ably led and that they understand their role in empowering the youth, as has been done in the DA-governed Western Cape.
The attack on private education institutions, many of which service the poor, bares similarities to the Gupta-manufactured script that seeks to undermine the sovereignty of the State, divide the nation and create bogeymen, where none exist.
The DA will never stand by while an already fragile education system is attacked. We will work with all stakeholders who seek to better the quality of education, especially that of the poor.