The marking of matric papers was brought to a halt after water shortages led to poor working conditions in Ulundi, KwaZulu-Natal
On Sunday morning 460 markers refused to continue work at the James Nxumalo Agricultural High School in Ulundi, complaining to the KZN Education Department of the prevailing conditions since they started marking papers on Monday last week.
Zakhele Zulu, a teacher in KZN, said the group had been in dire need of water for two days, with conditions so bad that female teachers were using a nearby bush as a toilet, Zululand Observer reported.
“We can’t work as professionals under these conditions. We decided to tell our unions to come and witness these conditions. It’s disgusting here. The female educators can’t even use the toilets because of the stench. We are forced to use the bush as our toilet, it was just awful,” he said.
Zulu said the workers were demanding to be moved to another marking centre, but the Department of Education seemed reluctant.
“South African Democratic Teachers Union [Sadtu] is working to get us moved. We can’t stay here and we refuse to work, if they do not move us,” said Zulu.
However, the Department responded to their plight, opting to close the marking center and moving the operation to Durban.
Provincial department of education spokesperson, Muzi Mahlambi, said that instead of the short-term solution of providing more water tanks while waiting for the district municipality to solve the problem, the decision had been taken to move the marking centre to Durban.
“The markers will be accommodated at a hotel in the point district and they will mark the scripts at the George Campbell Technical School. We have created a long term solution to the problem we faced and can keep to schedule,” he said.
– Caxton News Service