The ANC in the Free State says the controversial Facebook post by the provincial Department of Corporate Governance and Traditional affairs political advisor, Tshediso Mangope was a reflection of the deep-seated effects of colonial education that belittles the heroes of "our society".
The party said the post should be condemned in the strongest terms and never be encouraged.
This was after Mangope, an ANC senior member who is a strategic advisor for Cogta MEC, Mxolisi Dukwana, wrote on his Facebook page on the opening day of schools: “Boy starts his journey at Grey College, he is too happy. No magwinya and archaar eating Sadtu (SA Democratic Teachers Union) person will teach my children.”
He also posted an unsavoury picture of two women in a swimming pool with a caption: “Matitjere a Sadtu”, implying that the two women in bathing costumes were Sadtu members.
In response, Sadtu in the Free State wrote a letter to the ANC and Cogta in the province, asking for Mangope’s immediate removal from Dukwana’s office.
The letter, which was signed by Sadtu provincial secretary Mokholoane Moloi, was sent to Dukwana and ANC provincial secretary Paseka Nompondo.
The ANC provincial spokesperson Oupa Khoabane confirmed receiving the letter.
“The ANC Free State deplores in the strongest terms demeaning sentiments expressed in the social media post attributed to Cadre Mangope, as the author. Teachers are the backbone of socio-economic development in our society, they carry the heaviest burdens of societal problems bedevilling communities.
“The post reflects deep-seated effects of colonial education that belittles heroes and heroines of our society, ” said Khoabane.
He said the party viewed the post with disdain.
“The matter is receiving attention from the organisation and shall be dealt with in a manner deserving of its magnitude,” Khoabane said.
In the letter, Sadtu said it had also learned that this was not the first time Mangope behaved in this manner towards the union, and that he could not hide his hatred for the Cosatu affiliated union.
“It is members of Sadtu who work so hard to mobilise support for the ANC during the elections so that the party remains in power and ultimately deploys its cadres to senior offices like the one the MEC (Dukwana) is currently occupying. It, therefore, becomes paramount that the people who get employed in the government offices, such as MEC’s offices, are politically clear of the role they should play in preserving the unity and cohesion of the alliance.
“As Sadtu we request the MEC to remove the individual from his office with immediate effect because he is taking our country backward to the past era of embracing the whites, while he is the product of the same teachers he is today disrespecting and insulting.
“This person is degrading our institutions of learning in the townships because he can afford to take his child to the former Model C (school) because of being employed in the office of the deployee. We further request the MEC to cause him to apologise to the public and members of Sadtu,” the letter reads.
Asked what action would be taken against Mangope, Dukwana’s spokesperson Tembeni Lobe said Mangope had accepted his error of judgement and had already penned a letter of apology addressed to Sadtu and teachers in general, as well as the broader South African community.
“The MEC believes that once a person demonstrates genuine remorse, as the society, we need to embrace and rehabilitate such a person. We have noted different opinions, and some to the extreme, about what should happen to Mr Mangope. However, we believe that we need to embrace his genuine apology and grant him the benefit of doubt,” said Lobe.
Lobe added that the department will enrol Mangope for counselling as part of a rehabilitation process.
“And we hope that we can still extrapolate the best out of him,” Lobe said.
Moloi said they had not received an apology letter from Dukwana's office.
“We have, however, noticed a letter (that is) not signed on social media addressed to the provincial secretary of Sadtu,” said Moloi.
In the letter, Mangope, who attended schools in Botshabelo, said he regretted the post and that his comments were offensive and classist.
“I apologise to the union and teachers more specifically, and retract all that was said in the posts,” said Mangope.