Teach­ers who blew whis­tle ‘in­tim­i­dated’

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

Two Queen­stown teach­ers who blew the whis­tle on an al­leged jobs-for-cash scam in the re­gion and al­leged loot­ing of school feed­ing schemes have been charged with mis­con­duct by the pro­vin­cial de­part­ment of ed­u­ca­tion for talk­ing to the me­dia.

The two – St Theresa’s Pri­mary School teacher Gaynor Rit­tles, and Bon­golo Farm School prin­ci­pal and re­spected ed­u­ca­tion­ist Lindiwe Doko – were charged with mis­con­duct in Au­gust for talk­ing to City Press ear­lier this year.

The ex­posé led to the de­part­ment’s risk man­age­ment ser­vices di­vi­sion launch­ing a foren­sic in­ves­ti­ga­tion into feed­ing schemes at St Theresa’s, the nearby Kwa-Ko­mani Com­pre­hen­sive School and Mpen­dulo Pri­mary School. The out­come of the in­ves­ti­ga­tions, which took place dur­ing Septem­ber and Oc­to­ber, are not yet known.

Both Rit­tles and Doko made al­le­ga­tions of

Do you know of other in­ci­dents of loot­ing

and/or post-rig­ging?

SMS your thoughts to 35697 us­ing the key­word WHIS­TLE. SMSes cost R1.50. Please in­clude your name and prov­ince im­proper con­duct by se­nior of­fi­cials and the prin­ci­pal of St Theresa’s dur­ing Rit­tles’ suc­cess­ful chal­lenge at the Ed­u­ca­tion Labour Re­la­tions Coun­cil to her dis­missal from the school.

Rit­tles has also filed an ap­pli­ca­tion in the Port El­iz­a­beth Labour Court for the ap­point­ment of St Theresa’s prin­ci­pal, Claude van Dyk, to be set aside.

Doko’s dis­ci­plinary let­ter, dated Au­gust 21, claims she is guilty of mis­con­duct as she “en­gaged with the me­dia, par­tic­u­larly City Press, fol­low­ing the in­ter­views for prin­ci­pal at St Theresa’s”.

“In­stead of fol­low­ing the re­quired pro­ce­dure for a griev­ance dur­ing and af­ter in­ter­views, you pre­ferred to ex­press your feel­ings in the pub­lic do­main, while you were not ap­pointed spokesper­son for the de­part­ment of ed­u­ca­tion. Th­ese ac­tions prej­u­diced the ad­min­is­tra­tion, dis­ci­pline and ef­fi­ciency of the de­part­ment of ed­u­ca­tion,” the let­ter reads.

Doko, who is pre­par­ing for her own court bat­tle with the de­part­ment over what she claims was the rig­ging of the ap­pli­ca­tion process for a chief ed­u­ca­tion spe­cial­ist’s post, was given three days to show why she should not face dis­ci­plinary ac­tion.

Rit­tles was served with an iden­ti­cal let­ter on the same date. Nei­ther of the two has re­ceived fur­ther no­ti­fi­ca­tion of progress on the charges against them.

“This is an at­tempt to in­tim­i­date me,” said Doko. “I am pre­par­ing to go to court about this.”

Ed­u­ca­tion de­part­ment spokesper­son Loy­iso Pu­lumani said the case against the two was “on­go­ing”. He de­clined to pro­vide de­tails, but said the cases would be fi­nalised “in due course”.

PHO­TOS: TEBOGO LET­SIE PHOTO: TEBOGO LET­SIE

UN­DER IN­VES­TI­GA­TION Bon­golo Farm School prin­ci­pal Lindiwe Doko (left) and St Theresa’s Pri­mary School teacher Gaynor Rit­tles

are em­broiled in a court bat­tle af­ter al­leg­ing cor­rup­tion within the Eastern Cape de­part­ment of ed­u­ca­tion

Kwa-Ko­mani Com­pre­hen­sive School in Queen­stown has been im­pli­cated in mis­con­duct

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