The Perm Sec Mrs Thabela and the Minister, Dr Ndlovu’s acts of provocation have reached dangerous levels and unless they are checked, could destroy the education system completely. Indeed Mrs Thabela was one of the best Provincial Directors in Zimbabwe whilst she was in Mat South but all the brilliance and shiny she exuded while she was in Mat South seem to have quickly evaporated after she joined Head Office. What real happened, when and how? We wonder. Her infamous mockery that teachers must borrow in order to go to work is still fresh in the minds of teachers. Recently, she ill-advised the Minister to fire teachers, despite being fully aware that the Minister has no power to do that.
We have very little information about Dr Ndlovu before she became a Minister except that she taught briefly, and worked in Vice President Chiwenga’s office, but if what she has done so far after becoming the Minister is anything to go by, then she has very little to offer to the education system. So far she has allowed herself to be misled to commit one of the greatest blunders of firing teachers when legally, she has no power to do that. Despite the 2003 precedent on a Ptuz vs Ministry of Education, and recent High Court ruling to the effect that the line Ministry has no power to dismiss teachers, the duo is still grieved and belting instructions to provinces, and down to districts for vindictive punishment of incapacitated school heads and teachers who did not report for work from 7th to 11th February, and those who failed to return to work by the 22nd.
Our best advice to the duo as Ptuz, is to stop forthwith their dangerous instincts and engage their subordinates rather than specialising in command and control tactics that would further lead to their embarrassment. It is sad that the duo wants DSIs to get reports about the presence of school heads in schools from what they term “other arms of government”, viz, Central Intelligence Organisation as if this is the new modus operandi of the Ministry of Education. Since when has the Ministry started to take instructions from Central Intelligence Organisation? Is this part of educational taxonomy? As a teacher union we cannot remain silent when Ministry officials are trying to militarise the education system and bring foreign elements into administration of schools and education system. This trajectory that is largely a result of personal embarrassment based on warped decisions and a litany of errors must be condemned by all level-headed educationist. If the duo pride in the suffering of teachers, they can get names of school heads and teachers from pay sheets and effect deductions because no one was in school for the first week of this term due to incapacitation. We however do not take lightly, the facade of lies belted by the duo that teachers and pupils reported at various schools across the country and were ordered by school heads to go home. This is an insult to the incapacitation of teachers and an unpalatable alibi to punish school heads.
We salute all incapacitated school heads, DSIs and PEDs for their unflinching realisation that teachers are indeed incapacitated. We also urge the Perm Sec and Minister to leave labour issues to teachers and their employer PSC unless they can assist teachers to get the US$540.
The Perm Sec and Minister should be reminded that MoPSE does not employ any teacher, so witch hunting is not acceptable. Any attempt to victimise any incapacigated teacher (including schoolheads) will be taken as an act of further provocation to all teachers. We remain ready to act in solidarity with our victimised cdes. Vindictiveness, arrogance, prejudice, rigidity and parochialism is not expected from such respected offices. To be forewarned is to be forearmed. Action and reaction are equal and opposite. Leave teachers/school heads with their unfettered rights to engage their employer forthwith.
We also want to salute all teachers for the resolute and resilient stand against exploitation. Indeed we are our own liberators and must continue to remobilise. For the record under Public Service Act, and Statutory Instrument 1 of 2000 and amendments of 2001, there is no law that prevents school heads from engaging in collective job action. It is only in the Labour Act (Chapter 28: 01) which applies to private sector that those in managerial positions are not allowed to join collective job action.
To the general teachers across the union divide, 2022 is the best year to advance for the restoration of US$540. The best time to get concessions from politicians is before elections. After elections, you have to wait for five more years. We must therefore strategically plan to have such concessions without fear or favour knowing so much that we are managers of the nation’s best asset, viz, students, and that intrinsically motivated teachers are a vital cog of community and national development.
Dr Takavafira M. Zhou, Ptuz President