NAPTOSA President, Mr Nkosiphendule Ntantala
Deputy President, Moses Standaar
Vice President, Tinus du Preez
Executive Director, Basil Manuel
NAPTOSA leadership at all levels
Ladies and Gentlemen
Thank you, Programme Director, for the opportunity to participate in the 2020 NAPTOSA Council Meeting held virtually for the first time in your illustrious history. We congratulate NAPTOSA for holding peaceful and fruitful conference season in recent weeks amid the constraints imposed by the virulent pandemic, i.e. Covid-19.
As a sector, we are indebted to NAPTOSA for the continued labour peace, cordial relations and cooperation in the basic education sector.
As you rightly say, NAPTOSA is the second-largest teachers’ union in the education sector, and this imposes on your shoulders an immeasurable challenge in a competitive environment. You may be tempted to take risky political decisions to outplay your counterparts.
However, due to the maturity of both leaders as well as members, you have stayed true to one of your founding principles; that of providing high-class professionalism in the sector. We hold the trade union movement such as NAPTOSA as the pride and joy of our country. All our teachers, as I said during the World Teachers' Day, you are indeed a national treasure worth celebrating every day.
Hence, we regard NAPTOSA as a vital stakeholder of the Basic Education Department. We do so, not because of the muscle that NAPTOSA commands due to the sheer numbers but as a partner in our quest to provide every child with his/her right to State-funded quality basic education.
Programme Director, we meet today under the circumstances, not of our choosing. As we know, the coronavirus has redefined how we live, work and play. It is totally a new ball game, the “new normal” as it were.
In these circumstances imposed by the coronavirus, I, wish to send our sincere condolences to the families who have lost loved ones in recent weeks in our sector.
According to our Covid-19 Prevalence Statistics, 316 teachers have lost the Covid-19 battle since the last reporting period. A further 62 non-teaching staff have died as a result of the pandemic. We report 37 fatalities amongst learners. May the soul of the departed rest in peace!
Despite the Covid-19 induced losses we have suffered as a sector, we remain steadfast in our quest to ensure that the right of every child to basic education is protected. We must do so while ensuring that all necessary precautions are taken to save the lives of all school communities. We must not take our eyes off the ball. Our quest to save 2020 academic as well as a generation of learners must not blind us to the human catastrophe that can befall us if we do not take the non-pharmaceutical measures to heart.
As a responsible trade union, we rely on you to monitor compliance with the Covid-19 interventions. As people on the ground, we must ensure that every teacher, non-teaching staff members and learners have sufficient personal protective equipment (PPEs) such as masks to keep the virus at bay.
These are key in promoting the COVID-19 pandemic compliance, and protecting lives while allowing schooling to continue. As we know, PPEs are a key arsenal in an all-out war against the pandemic, an invisible enemy hell-bent on causing havoc in our lives. It is now the people versus the virus. We cannot let our guard down. We must remain vigilant and working together; we shall triumph.
In conclusion, I wish the NAPTOSA Council Meeting fruitful engagement. I hope that you will let me in on your resolutions on how to take the basic education sector forward under the new circumstances imposed by the virus.
I thank you.