Three po­si­tions, six em­ploy­ees, salaries to­talling R2.2m

CityPress - - News - SIPHO MA­SONDO sipho.ma­sondo@city­press.co.za

Three po­si­tions, six em­ploy­ees: that’s the predica­ment the North West ed­u­ca­tion de­part­ment is in – al­legedly be­cause of in­ter­fer­ence in three ap­point­ments.

In each case, the person who ac­tu­ally per­formed best in the tests and in­ter­views suc­cess­fully chal­lenged the de­part­ment.

Now it is pay­ing dou­ble in salaries – a to­tal of R2.2 mil­lion a year – and has been forced to find va­cant po­si­tions for the ap­pli­cants who chal­lenged it.

In the first case, in 2009, the de­part­ment in­ter­viewed three women for the po­si­tion of area man­ager in the Vry­burg district.

Then head of de­part­ment Er­rol Grad­well ap­pointed the third-best can­di­date.

A se­nior of­fi­cial in the de­part­ment, speak­ing on con­di­tion of anonymity, blamed the SA Demo­cratic Teach­ers’ Union (Sadtu) in the province for what had hap­pened.

“Sadtu didn’t want num­ber one to get the job. They wanted num­ber two to be­come the area man­ager. They pres­sured Grad­well.”

The first can­di­date suc­cess­fully chal­lenged the third’s ap­point­ment.

“She was given a cir­cuit man­ager po­si­tion in Taung to ap­pease her, but she is earn­ing the salary of an area man­ager. The third-best can­di­date can­not be re­moved by law,” the of­fi­cial said.

An area man­ager earns about R500 000 a year.

The of­fi­cial could not say why Sadtu had op­posed the best can­di­date. “In most cases, they want their own peo­ple.”

Sadtu’s out­go­ing sec­re­tary in North West, Thabo Se­ma­tle, said: “We don’t in­flu­ence, we don’t ex­change cash. We were not in­volved. If we were, let us be given the de­tails so that we can fol­low up with our mem­bers.”

Con­tacted for com­ment, Grad­well said: “How can you ex­pect me to re­mem­ber ap­point­ments I made in 2009? That is five years ago.”

Brian Setswambung, the ed­u­ca­tion de­part­ment’s spokesper­son, said the first can­di­date would be placed in an “equiv­a­lent po­si­tion” when one be­came avail­able.

He could not say why she wasn’t ap­pointed in the first place.

In the sec­ond case, from 2011, a deputy direc­tor in qual­ity as­sur­ance be­came chief direc­tor in the in­fra­struc­ture de­part­ment.

“He didn’t have the tech­ni­cal know-how, the qual­i­fi­ca­tions and rel­e­vant ex­pe­ri­ence. Some­body who had also ap­plied for the po­si­tion and had the qual­i­fi­ca­tions and the ex­pe­ri­ence lodged a dis­pute and won,” the of­fi­cial told City Press.

“We had to find a va­cant post for him as a district direc­tor in Vry­burg.”

The of­fi­cial ac­cused for­mer ed­u­ca­tion MEC Ray­mond Elisha of favour­ing the less qual­i­fied can­di­date.

“Both were SACP [SA Com­mu­nist Party] mem­bers and the [can­di­date] was also very close to Sadtu,” al­leged the of­fi­cial, claim­ing that Sadtu mem­bers in the de­part­ment had threat­ened the can­di­date who chal­lenged the ap­point­ment not to go to in­ter­views.

Setswambung said he had no knowl­edge of Elisha in­flu­enc­ing the process.

Elisha, now the MEC for pub­lic works in the province, said: “The post was ad­ver­tised, peo­ple were short-listed and in­ter­viewed. An ap­point­ment was made and it had noth­ing to do with the fact that we were both SACP mem­bers or he was close to Sadtu.”

The de­part­ment is pay­ing both a chief direc­tor’s salary – about R935 000 a year.

Also in 2011, a for­mer Sadtu deputy sec­re­tary in the province was ap­pointed hu­man re­sources direc­tor with just four months’ ex­pe­ri­ence.

“He used the union’s in­flu­ence to get the job. He was pre­ferred over some­body with 17 years’ ex­pe­ri­ence. The guy who lost dis­puted the ap­point­ment and he won,” said the source.

Setswambung ac­knowl­edged there was a dis­pute in this case, which the de­part­ment lost. “The guy who lodged a dis­pute has been trans­ferred to head of­fice pend­ing the fi­nal­i­sa­tion of the re­align­ment of the or­gan­i­sa­tional struc­ture.”

He added that both can­di­dates had been rec­om­mended for ap­point­ment. Sadtu, he said, did not in­flu­ence ap­point­ments.

Both em­ploy­ees are earn­ing about R771 350 a year.

Peo­ple were short-listed and in­ter­viewed. An ap­point­ment was made and it had noth­ing to do with the fact that we were both SACP mem­bers or he was close to Sadtu

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