South Africa: SONA and the Recurring Side-Shows of Discontent

President Cyril Ramaphosa delivers the annual State of the National Address, his second since the recall of former President Jacob Zuma in February last year.

Every year, the State of the Nation Address is marked by public protests outside Parliament. This year the Education Union of South Africa took its challenges close to Parliament's doorstep before Cyril Ramaphosa's second State of the Nation Address.

Something needs to be done to fix the education system.

This was the plea of the Education Union of South Africa (EUSA), a Cape Town-based teachers' union, that marched to Parliament on Thursday to use the State of the Nation Address to amplify several issues affecting the education sector.

According to Secretary-General of EUSA Siphiwe Mpungose, the march was aimed at making the public aware of "how teachers feel about the dysfunctional and unproductive curriculum" they are forced to deliver to learners.

Since the beginning of 2019, the country has witnessed a number of challenges in the basic education sector. In the North West, a Schweizer-Reneke primary school made headlines when a teacher shared a photo over WhatsApp that showed black learners at a separate table to their white peers.

Recently, four pupils were killed when a walkway collapsed at Höerskool Driehoek in Vanderbijlpark. And this week, a video surfaced on social media showing a teacher slapping a learner after a...

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