Angie clips Sadtu wings
Department set to reduce influence of unions to stop teachers who pay for jobs from getting posts
The department of basic education’s investigation into a jobs-for-cash scam will see sweeping changes relating to the hiring process. The changes are set to include a dramatic reduction in the influence that unions and school governing bodies will be able to wield in appointment processes. Two senior national basic education department officials said that the team appointed by Basic Education Minister Angie Motshekga to investigate the racket unearthed by City Press last year would recommend that the department “zooms in on teacher unions – Sadtu in particular – and school governing bodies [SGBs], and redefine their roles in the appointment processes”.
The complex scam that has been going on for more than a decade involves department officials and Sadtu members rigging posts in exchange for cash, livestock and sex.
The scam is still continuing, however. City Press has learnt that, just last week, the positions of department head and deputy principal were sold at a primary school in Marianhill, outside Durban.
At the moment, union representatives sit in during interviews as observers, while governing body members form part of the interview panels and recommend appointments to district officials.
The investigative report into the department’s investigation is expected to be handed over to Motshekga in two weeks.
A senior member of the team probing the scam, who spoke on condition of anonymity, said: “The report provides a strong critique of the role of the unions. We will not have many friends in the unions after this. The fact is that somebody has to do it without fear or favour. People are being killed. The role of the SGBs also has to change.”
A senior national basic education official, who also spoke on condition of anonymity, said: “Policy weaknesses have to be strengthened. There are too many people involved in the hiring value chain. The SGB recommends and sends documents to district offices.
“We once heard about candidates being interviewed in people’s houses at night with others guarding them with guns.”
The official said the department was already considering solutions, which included conducting interviews in provincial offices with the head of department being the only person with the power to appoint teachers, principals, circuit managers and other lucrative positions, including chief education specialists.
“There will definitely be sweeping changes in how teachers are appointed. People feel that they can decide who gets what position, and that cannot be allowed,” he said. “The task team’s recommendation will be key in turning around the system.”
Meanwhile, the killing of educators for their jobs, which are then sold on to others, will feature prominently at a two-day schools-safety summit in Johannesburg this week.
Two teachers were murdered in KwaZulu-Natal in the past three months, allegedly by those who wanted their principal positions.
Department spokesperson Elijah Mhlanga said: “The violence in our schools must be condemned. Whether it is against pupils or teachers, it must not be allowed to thrive because it affects the business of education.” He said the department was concerned about the murders. “It seems organised, because in several cases it was reported that teachers or principals were killed for accepting posts in particular schools.” But while Volmink’s team wraps up and Motshekga tries to put out fires, the sale of posts is apparently continuing unabated.
The name of the school in Marianhill where positions were sold last week is known to City Press.
A teacher at the school said the selection and short-listing for the posts was dragged out by the Sadtu branch in a bid to ensure candidates who had paid for the posts were successful. Provincial education spokesperson Muzi Mahlambi confirmed the matter was reported to the department. “The selection committee kept changing until eventually those who were meant to pay paid up. On the panel that sat over both the interview sessions, they chose school governing body members who were uneducated and told them not to score, as they would not be able to comprehend the answers given by the candidates,” said the teacher.
Only three panel members were allowed to score the candidates, instead of the usual five. On Saturday, only three candidates arrived for the department head interviews, allegedly because other candidates had not been notified.
“Long before the posts were advertised, it was common knowledge who would fill those posts. Word was already out that the people who would fill the posts were to be from outside the school, and indeed they were,” he said.
In October, City Press met with six teachers from the same school who complained about massive post-rigging. They wrote to the provincial department asking it to intervene, but they said nothing was done.
Sadtu provincial secretary Nomarashiya Caluza did not respond to calls from City Press for comment on Friday and yesterday.
GWEEZY GOES FOR GOAL ANC secretarygeneral Gwede Mantashe launched his
football career as a goalkeeper, defender, midfielder and striker in
one soccer match, which was played between the
Gwede Mantashe All Stars and the Matsila 11 at Thohoyandou Stadium in
Limpopo, yesterday. Mantashe conceded a goal but also
managed to keep his team afloat by making a crucial save.
The tournament is organised by the Gwede Mantashe Foundation in association with the
Matsila Community Development Trust. It is meant to
identify, nature and
develop soccer talent