More post-rigging fallout
Whistle-blower suspended from her teaching job after complaining of irregularities in appointment of a senior education specialist
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Two others were removed because they had withdrawn their applications.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.