Tensions High as Striking Teachers March in South Africa

PRETORIA, South Africa — More than 20 police vehicles were deployed on Wednesday to an open space in Marabastad, on the outskirts of Pretoria, ahead of a planned teachers’ union march.

Police officers stood next to the cars. Some of them held documents, while others conversed.

Two Nyalas, armored vehicles, with flashing lights, arrived at the scene shortly before 9 a.m.

The police were joined by a smaller group of Tshwane metro police officers.

Three ambulances and other emergency services vehicles were also on the scene.

Members of the South African Democratic Teachers’ Union (SADTU) braved cold weather to converge at the old Putco depot in Marabastad.

They are taking part in a national strike organized by the disgruntled union.

Four buses had delivered protesters to an open space between the Bloed and Struben streets by 10 a.m.

A public address system was set up in a truck next to the buses.

To stave off the morning cold, some police and protesters made a quick detour to buy coffee.

SADTU expected close to 25,000 of its members to take part in Wednesday marches to the Union Buildings in Pretoria, and to Parliament in Cape Town.

“The marches are meant to increase the pressure on Basic Education Minister Angie Motshekga and her director general, Bobby Soobrayan, to resign from their… positions, in defense of collective bargaining and promotion of quality public education,” SADTU said in a statement.

Congress of South African Trade Unions President Sidumo Dlamini would lead the march in Pretoria, and his second deputy, Zingiswa Losi, the march in Cape Town.

On Monday, the basic education department and SADTU failed to agree whether the marches were legal.

In Pretoria, the marchers are expected to proceed along Cowie, Struben, and Nelson Mandela streets to the Union Buildings.

In Cape Town, the marchers would gather at 10.30am in Keizergracht and move along Darling, Adderley, Spin, and Plein streets to Parliament.

SADTU members have been on a national go-slow since pupils returned from the Easter holiday…

Read more: Allafrica.

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