Those who oppose transformation are rubbing their hands in glee as the government casts around for scapegoats for the festival of looting. Yet the main prop that keeps the educated class on top of the economy remains firmly in place and overlooked; the lack of appropriate education in SA and the role of the SA Democratic Teachers Union (Sadtu).

The union remains firmly in control of the ANC’s failing education grades, but transformation begins with education. The ANC could not have created a more effective weapon against transformation than Sadtu. With only 13% of pupils who start school “qualifying” to go to university, followed by a huge first-year dropout rate, it could be generations before real transformation happens.

With its enormous influence over the ANC, which even basic education minister Angie Motshekga has described as a stranglehold, the racketeering union looks set to ensure that the department continues to churn out unemployables who can’t add value to an employer, let alone participate in meaningful transformation.

Of course, this comes at a price, and the danger to the ANC is voters might wake up. If the 11.1-million unemployables Sadtu has already created were to get a universal basic income grant of R1,000 a month the additional cost to SA will be R133bn a year, which could have been spent on, well, education.

The ANC, which one presumes is serious about transformation, might then hold the narrow interests of Sadtu members off at a proper distance on a basis educated people understand: transformation and education are inextricably linked.

David Marsh 

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