Byline: Levhuwani matumba

28 May 2021

Both the Department of education and Social Development representatives were not surprised by the demands of the unions and workers at Ethokomala Secure Care Centre. 

Ethokomala Secure Care Centre is an institution that accommodate and rehabilitate young offenders as an alternative to prison. 

While protesters who were joined by Sadtu and Nehawu Unions were singing outside waiting for representatives from the two departments to arrive, some of the learners tried to provoke protesters and one of them also tried to jump the fence. 

According to the information received by Seskhona Media, some of Ethokomala learners are seen within the community with gang members. 

Some learners were said to be making the school ungovernable because they want transfers to Barberton Juvenile Centre. 

Workers were also said to have been threatened with pangas and dangerous weapons inside the school and as such, some of them have not been reporting for duty for two weeks fearing for their lives. 

When addressing both departments and the workers, Provincial Secretary of Nehawu Mr Welcome Mnisi said he was not surprised by the behaviours of some of the learners who tried to provoke them. 

“This shows what kind of management the school has. 

Even the securities are afraid of these learners as you can see they just watch them as they are climbing the fence and doing as they want,” said Mnisi also mentioning that there was a promise during the previous meetings with the school to beef up security, but that has never happened. 

The generator is also said to be not working and during loadshedding learners get the opportunity to be naughty. 

The school principal, Mr Smith who was not present on the day of protest was accused of being a racist and was also said to have opened cases against some of the workers. 

Both department representatives responded after signing the memorandum and acknowledged that they are aware of the problems the school is facing since they tried several times to resolve them. 

They both further mentioned that it is important that the problems gets resolved as some of them are not even difficult to resolve. 

Demands for the Department of Basic Education are as follows:

Removal of the school principal with immediate effect, the withdrawal of the charges and protection orders against some of the employees, the issue of the grievance of PMBS, bashing of unions and employees, and the demand for the revival of the dysfunctional committees at the institution and the sign board must be installed at the school gate and also on the road. 

Department of Social Development:

In April, the DSD promised employees safety and security.

Provision of the generator, beefing up security, grading of employees as per the court order and the removal of five troubling learners from the school.

Both departments were given seven days to attend to the issues raised.