Jobs-for-pals racket gets trac­tion in Eastern Cape

CityPress - - News - PADDY HARPER paddy.harper@city­press.co.za

It ap­pears that post-fix­ing in the Eastern Cape ed­u­ca­tion depart­ment has reached epic pro­por­tions, with more than 2 400 staff ap­pointed de­spite not be­ing qual­i­fied for their posts.

And more than 2 800 va­cant pro­mo­tion posts in its var­i­ous dis­tricts and at head of­fice can­not be filled.

DA ed­u­ca­tion spokesper­son Ed­mund van Vu­uren, who was con­duct­ing over­sight vis­its to schools in Queen­stown and other dis­tricts last week, said a re­cent au­dit of ap­point­ments the depart­ment had made since 2000 re­vealed that it was im­pos­si­ble to fill 2 800 va­can­cies, and 2 400 peo­ple had been ap­pointed who were not prop­erly qual­i­fied.

The in­ap­pro­pri­ate ap­point­ments were pre­vent­ing posts from be­ing filled by qual­i­fied can­di­dates and had sparked a flurry of ap­peals from skilled teach­ers who were by­passed in favour of pre­s­e­lected ap­pli­cants.

“The ap­point­ments have not been based on the skills re­quired for the posts, but rather on af­fil­i­a­tion to a teach­ers’ union and other cri­te­ria,” Van Vu­uren said, adding that he had met with Premier Phu­mulo Ma­su­alle this week to dis­cuss the prob­lem.

Last week, City Press ex­posed a jobs-for­pals racket in the depart­ment’s Queen­stown dis­trict, where teacher Gaynor Rit­tles went to the labour court to chal­lenge the ap­point­ment of the prin­ci­pal at St Theresa’s Pri­mary School.

In court pa­pers, she and vet­eran SA Demo­cratic Teacher’s Union (Sadtu) mem­ber Lindiwe Doko al­leged that the ap­point­ment was rigged in favour of the suc­cess­ful ap­pli­cant and that Sadtu lead­ers had backed it.

Doko has also lodged a chal­lenge in the labour court against the ap­point­ment of se­nior ed­u­ca­tion spe­cial­ists in the Queen­stown dis­trict.

Ed­u­ca­tion of­fi­cials told City Press that, in the wake of the re­port, sev­eral other con­tested ap­point­ments at St Theresa’s were set aside by the depart­ment. Ap­pli­cants in sev­eral other dis­tricts have also come for­ward with com­plaints that ap­pli­ca­tions for pro­mo­tion, par­tic­u­larly at prin­ci­pal level, were be­ing pre­de­ter­mined by school gov­ern­ing body and union pan­el­lists in favour of can­di­dates with fewer skills.

In a let­ter of com­plaint to ed­u­ca­tion depart­ment act­ing su­per­in­ten­dent-gen­eral Ray Ty­wakadi last week, prin­ci­pal can­di­date Pa­triot Maz­imela, who has 20 years of teach­ing ex­pe­ri­ence, claimed the ap­point­ment of the new prin­ci­pal at Maz­izini Sec­ondary School in Du­tywa was rigged.

In a let­ter of dis­pute that City Press has seen, Maz­imela said the job was given to an un­der­qual­i­fied can­di­date. The in­ter­view­ing panel, he claimed, did not fo­cus on the core skills needed for the job and the “pro­cesses and pro­ce­dures were flouted”. Eastern Cape ed­u­ca­tion spokesper­son Loyiso Pu­lumani said Van Vu­uren’s fig­ures were “in­flated” and the to­tal num­ber of un­der­skilled staff was closer to 240.

Pu­lumani said the Eastern Cape had ex­pe­ri­enced an “ano­maly” over its place­ments be­cause of an agree­ment with Sadtu that pre­vented teach­ers from be­ing trans­ferred from schools where they were not needed to un­der­staffed in­sti­tu­tions. How­ever, the im­passe was re­solved last year.

“Leg­isla­tively, the MEC is meant to make an an­nounce­ment at the end of Septem­ber af­ter an an­nual ex­er­cise in which the province’s skills bas­ket for the fol­low­ing year is de­ter­mined af­ter con­sul­ta­tion with the teach­ers’ unions. That is tak­ing place as we speak and is a lengthy ex­er­cise. The MEC will then make the an­nounce­ment about the pack­age of skills for 2016,” he said.

Ed­mund van Vu­uren

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