More post-rig­ging fall­out

Whis­tle-blower sus­pended from her teach­ing job af­ter com­plain­ing of ir­reg­u­lar­i­ties in ap­point­ment of a se­nior ed­u­ca­tion spe­cial­ist

CityPress - - News - PADDY HARPER paddy@city­

An Eastern Cape ed­u­ca­tion of­fi­cial has been charged with mis­con­duct af­ter she chal­lenged ap­par­ent ir­reg­u­lar­i­ties in the short­list­ing process by a se­nior of­fi­cial in Queen­stown for a lu­cra­tive se­nior ed­u­ca­tion spe­cial­ist po­si­tion in June.

The of­fi­cial, whose name is known to City Press, was slapped with three mis­con­duct charges by the dis­trict on Oc­to­ber 1, three months af­ter she wrote to the prov­ince’s chief di­rec­tor of ed­u­ca­tion com­plain­ing about the con­duct of re­gional of­fi­cials dur­ing the ap­point­ment of the cru­cial po­si­tion.

Although the dis­puted po­si­tion was sup­posed to go to a preschool ed­u­ca­tion spe­cial­ist tasked with train­ing teach­ers, the can­di­date who bagged the job was a spe­cial­ist in adult ed­u­ca­tion.

Two weeks be­fore the in­ter­views, the sus­pended whis­tle-blower was re­moved from the in­ter­view­ing panel by the same di­rec­tor against whom she had laid the com­plaint.

A let­ter sent to the woman, a copy of which City Press has ob­tained, reads: “The al­le­ga­tions lev­elled against you dur­ing this process war­rant that they be in­ves­ti­gated and that you be re­lieved of the re­spon­si­bil­ity to par­tic­i­pate in this del­i­cate process.”

City Press has learnt that an in­ves­ti­ga­tion into the whis­tle-blower’s al­le­ga­tions be­gan this week by of­fi­cials from the of­fice of ed­u­ca­tion de­part­ment act­ing su­per­in­ten­dent­gen­eral Siza Net­shi­laphala.

The trou­ble started in June when the of­fi­cial said in a let­ter of com­plaint that she had “se­ri­ous con­cerns … about whether the in­ter­views will be free and fair for all can­di­dates”.

She wrote in the let­ter, which City Press has seen, that on the day of the short-list­ing, the chair­per­son of the panel, dis­trict di­rec­tor Nkosi­nathi Godlo, put aside the forms of one of the 104 ap­pli­cants for the job, say­ing they would not be scru­ti­nised be­cause the can­di­date was al­ready act­ing in the post.

Two oth­ers were re­moved be­cause they had with­drawn their ap­pli­ca­tions.

The sus­pended of­fi­cial said in the let­ter: “All 101 ap­pli­ca­tions were scru­ti­nised thor­oughly and we fi­nally came [up] with four short-listed can­di­dates that [were to be] in­ter­viewed thor­oughly on June 30. The dis­trict di­rec­tor then added the one can­di­date’s ap­pli­ca­tion that he had set aside be­fore the short-list­ing … this made the fi­nal top five can­di­dates,” she wrote.

“After the short-list­ing was done, I went to him to make him aware of the fact that there was no­body act­ing in the post … He re­sponded by say­ing that he had an obli­ga­tion to ap­point ex-Ikhala Col­lege lec­tur­ers, and I must ac­cept that,” she wrote in her com­plaint.

Godlo failed to re­spond to sev­eral calls and mes­sages ask­ing for com­ment this week. The sus­pended of­fi­cial also wrote that, as the head of the dis­trict’s foun­da­tion phase, she be­lieved the process was “not fair to the 103 ex­pe­ri­enced teach­ers that have ap­plied for the post and whose ap­pli­ca­tions have been sub­jected to scru­tiny”.

“I have noth­ing per­sonal against the ap­pli­cant, but the ap­pli­ca­tion must be sub­jected to the same pro­cesses as the oth­ers. I am com­mit­ted to good gov­er­nance and clean ser­vice. I there­fore re­quest this to be in­ves­ti­gated and ad­dressed be­fore these in­ter­views are con­ducted,” she wrote.

How­ever, the ap­point­ment process went ahead and the adult ed­u­ca­tion spe­cial­ist who al­legedly by­passed scru­tiny was ap­pointed.

Ac­cord­ing to the dis­ci­plinary let­ter sent to the whis­tle-blower, she is charged with mis­con­duct for vi­o­lat­ing the con­fi­den­tial­ity of the in­ter­view process and writ­ing to of­fi­cials based in the Zwelit­sha of­fice with­out the per­mis­sion of her su­pe­ri­ors.

How­ever, an of­fi­cial in the Queen­stown re­gion, who spoke on con­di­tion of anonymity, as he is not al­lowed to speak to the me­dia, said of­fi­cials from Net­shi­laphala’s of­fice ar­rived to be­gin an in­ves­ti­ga­tion into the whis­tle-blower’s com­plaints on Wed­nes­day.

Eastern Cape ed­u­ca­tion spokesper­son Loy­iso Pu­lumani con­firmed that the sus­pended of­fi­cial faced “se­ri­ous reg­u­la­tory trans­gres­sions and gross in­sub­or­di­na­tion”. He de­clined to pro­vide fur­ther de­tail. The sus­pended of­fi­cial de­clined to com­ment, re­fer­ring City Press to the ed­u­ca­tion de­part­ment.

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