The South African Democratic Teachers’ Union (SADTU) welcomes the beginning of the 2023 academic year as inland schools prepare to open their doors to learners on Wednesday, 11 January and coastal schools shall start on Wednesday, 18 January 2023.

It is always our wish as SADTU to see effective teaching and learning taking place on the first day of school. However, this remains elusive as many learners sit at home for weeks not accessing schooling due to among others, complicated late registrations, and admissions processes. The introduction of the online application system in some provinces, like Gauteng, Western Cape and Northern Cape has not elevated the problem.

The Gauteng province which is supposed to open its doors tomorrow still has more than a thousand learners who have not been placed. The online application systems are at the centre of the debacle. We call for simpler, parent-friendly application processes and increased co-ordination between district officials, school governing bodies and parents to ensure learners are enrolled timeously.

We are fully aware of the fact that there are still significant challenges in terms of the delivery of education infrastructure to cater for the increasing number of learners as more people migrate to urban provinces such as Gauteng. We therefore call on government to increase funding to build more school infrastructure.

In a country where the right to education is guaranteed in the Constitution, we call on schools to follow to the letter, the admission policy for ordinary public schools. According to the policy, ordinary public school must not unfairly discriminate against an applicant for admission based on race, gender, ethnicity, culture, ethnicity or social origin, sexual orientation, etc. Language policies have been used, particularly in Afrikaans medium schools to discriminate against learners applying for admission. No learner may be refused admission to a public school based solely on a language policy of that public school. Such cannot be tolerated

We are fully aware of the fact that as learners and teachers return to school, some will find their classrooms vandalised and equipment missing. We appeal to communities, in line with the Union’s “I am A School Fan” campaign, to stand behind their schools and report those who loot and vandalise schools.

We strongly condemn the barbarity of destroying public infrastructure like the burning of schools. What kind of society are we who burn the future of our children?

Schools and churches were always safe heavens for our communities. Even during the worst times of oppression during our struggle for freedom, schools were never a target.

The country’s intelligence must up its game and find these criminals. We may not have facts, but allegations are rife that some scrupulous businesses may be involved in these acts so that they can get new business. If this is true, these heartless animals should be brought to book, punished and rot in jail.

As a union of educators and education support personnel, SADTU commits her members and educators in general to execute their revolutionary duties by being in class on time, be prepared and adhere to high professional and ethical standards. We expect the Department of Basic Education to also play its part by providing basic infrastructure, learning, and teaching materials and support teachers so that effective teaching and learning can take place. Each class must have a teacher. There should be no excuse for the non-appointment of teachers. All temporary teachers must get paid at the end of the month

The 2023 academic year will be the second year after two years of dealing with the Covid 19 pandemic. Although we have seen a significant drop in the spread of the pandemic, we should not be lulled into thinking it is over. We are aware of the Omicron variant XBB.1.5 which is making the rounds. We urge our members to continue to be vigilant and the department of basic education to put in place the necessary measures to mitigate against the spread of the virus.

ISSUED BY: SADTU Secretariat


General Secretary, Mugwena Maluleke: 082 783 2968

Deputy General Secretary, Nkosana Dolopi: 082 709 5651

Secretariat Officer, Xolani Fakude: 071 355 1566

Media Officer, Nomusa Cembi: 082 719 5157