Sadtu’s power grab

All six deputy di­rec­tors-gen­eral in the na­tional ba­sic ed­u­ca­tion de­part­ment are ac­tive mem­bers of Sadtu The Free State, North­ern Cape and Western Cape are the only prov­inces that Sadtu does not con­trol About 85% of all se­nior man­agers in North West’s prov

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Adamn­ing re­port into the jobs-for-cash scam run by of­fi­cials from the de­part­ment of ba­sic ed­u­ca­tion and teach­ers’ union Sadtu re­veals that the union “is in de facto con­trol” of all but three of the coun­try’s pro­vin­cial ed­u­ca­tion de­part­ments. The pre­lim­i­nary re­port by renowned aca­demic and Umalusi head Pro­fes­sor John Volmink also re­veals that a sim­i­lar in­ves­ti­ga­tion by the SA Coun­cil of Ed­u­ca­tors (Sace), a statu­tory body for teach­ers, found that the en­tire union was in­volved in the scam – not just a few rogue el­e­ments, which Sadtu main­tains.

In his re­port, Volmink, who was ap­pointed to in­ves­ti­gate the scam af­ter a City Press in­ves­ti­ga­tion, says Sadtu cov­ered up the Sace re­port be­cause it im­pli­cates the en­tire union, as op­posed to in­di­vid­ual mem­bers, in the buy­ing and sell­ing of jobs.

Volmink also re­vealed that the Gaut­eng pro­vin­cial ed­u­ca­tion de­part­ment con­ducted its own in­ves­ti­ga­tion last year with law firm Nchu­pet­sang At­tor­neys, which found wide­spread sell­ing of posts in the prov­ince. A hand­ful of teach­ers and of­fi­cials tes­ti­fied be­fore the in­ves­ti­ga­tors, in­clud­ing a prin­ci­pal who re­vealed that jobs were sold for be­tween R30 000 and R45 000. How­ever, noth­ing came of the re­port as most of the wit­nesses re­fused to sub­mit signed state­ments.

Na­tional ba­sic ed­u­ca­tion spokesper­son Eli­jah Mh­langa said Volmink’s re­port was “very im­por­tant to us”.

“If you don’t have a teacher or a prin­ci­pal who got a job on merit, it means we won’t be able to achieve what the na­tion wants out of us.

“The re­port will give us con­fi­dence to move boldly and change poli­cies. We have a good cur­ricu­lum, but if teach­ers and prin­ci­pals are not ap­pointed in the right way, what­ever we do is mean­ing­less.

“The in­ves­ti­ga­tion is ground-break­ing and, what­ever we want, we will do on the back of this re­port,” he said.

Volmink’s re­port, a copy of which City Press has ob­tained, found that all deputy di­rec­tors-gen­eral are Sadtu mem­bers. There were sev­eral other find­ings and some are out­lined above on this page.


At a me­dia brief­ing on Volmink’s re­port on Thurs­day, Ba­sic Ed­u­ca­tion Min­is­ter Angie Mot­shekga said she would meet all nine MECs early next year and pro­pose that all va­cant prin­ci­pal po­si­tions be frozen to pre­vent more prin­ci­pals from be­ing killed for their jobs and their posts be­ing sold.

Two se­nior teach­ers who were fron­trun­ners for the prin­ci­pal posts for which they had ap­plied in KwaZulu-Natal were killed in the past four months. Pi­eter­mar­itzburg act­ing prin­ci­pal Nokuthula Mag­wanyana was hacked to death in Septem­ber and Eshowe deputy prin­ci­pal Thokozani Mkhwanazi was shot dead at school last month.

Mot­shekga said she would ap­point a team of hu­man re­sources prac­ti­tion­ers to han­dle prin­ci­pal ap­point­ments while the de­part­ment sought per­ma­nent so­lu­tions.

One per­ma­nent so­lu­tion Volmink sug­gests is an over­haul of the en­tire de­part­ment and the man­ner in which teach­ers, prin­ci­pals and of­fi­cials are ap­pointed.

“The task team has come to the con­clu­sion that since 1994, the de­part­ment has never had a chance to suc­ceed,” reads the re­port.

“There­fore, there is a need for the state to un­der­take a com­plete over­haul, no mat­ter how long it takes, of the en­tire sys­tem of school­ing.”

Volmink rec­om­mends amend­ing the SA Schools Act to re­move the pow­ers of school gov­ern­ing bod­ies to make rec­om­men­da­tions in the ap­point­ments of heads of de­part­ments, prin­ci­pals and their deputies.

“The ap­point­ment process, from ad­ver­tis­ing to the in­ter­view­ing of can­di­dates and the ap­point­ment, will be con­ducted by the pro­vin­cial ed­u­ca­tion de­part­ment.

“The gov­ern­ing body will not play any role in the ap­point­ment process other than an ad­vi­sory role,” states the re­port. Volmink’s other rec­om­men­da­tions in­clude that:

The de­part­ment re­gains con­trol of the man­age­ment and ad­min­is­tra­tion of ed­u­ca­tion in all prov­inces;

Teach­ers and of­fice-based of­fi­cials must be for­bid­den from be­ing of­fice bear­ers of po­lit­i­cal par­ties and prin­ci­pals and se­nior man­agers must be barred from oc­cu­py­ing union lead­er­ship po­si­tions; New unions must be formed for of­fice-based of­fi­cials; Mea­sures must be put in place to en­sure that “cadre de­ploy­ment” in the de­part­ment and schools be stopped im­me­di­ately; Unions’ priv­i­leges to ob­serve job in­ter­views be re­viewed; Se­nior man­agers ap­pointed to cir­cuit, dis­trict and pro­vin­cial of­fices be as­sessed reg­u­larly; and

Sace be over­hauled and freed from union and po­lit­i­cal dom­i­na­tion.

Sace chair­per­son Rej Bri­jraj said its re­port, which he would not re­lease, found no wrong­do­ing against any teacher.

“We in­ves­ti­gated 29 cases, but found noth­ing, just ru­mours. I have the re­port. We have two cases we are fol­low­ing at the mo­ment. They will most prob­a­bly lead to pros­e­cu­tions next year. We will also pros­e­cute all teach­ers fin­gered in the min­is­ter’s re­port,” he said.

Sadtu sec­re­tary Mug­wena Maluleke said the union had not seen the Sace re­port.

“No one [from Sace] has called us to say that the re­port has been re­leased and what the find­ings are. We called for the in­ves­ti­ga­tion, so how can peo­ple say we are sti­fling the re­port?” he asked.

How Sadtu cap­tured prov­inces

The Volmink re­port pro­vides a chill­ing ac­count of how Sadtu cap­tured six of the nine pro­vin­cial de­part­ments, rang­ing from “the most se­nior lev­els to new teach­ers in pub­lic schools”.

“The ef­fect of this is to con­trib­ute to the de­part­ment’s in­abil­ity to con­trol and de­velop an ef­fec­tive ed­u­ca­tional sys­tem. The de­part­ment has man­age­rial and ad­min­is­tra­tive con­trol in three of South Africa’s nine prov­inces. In all other prov­inces, Sadtu is in de facto con­trol.”

Volmink found that Sadtu had gained con­trol by “us­ing mil­i­tancy to ex­ert pres­sure on its mem­bers to be union­ists first and pro­fes­sion­als sec­ond”. It also used cadre de­ploy­ment to en­sure that a “high num­ber of man­agers, de­ci­sion mak­ers and oth­ers with power and in­flu­ence in ed­u­ca­tion are placed in well-paid po­si­tions where they can serve and pri­ori­tise the union”.

“In North West, 85% of se­nior po­si­tions have been de­ployed by Sadtu. Th­ese in­di­vid­u­als have been re­warded for ser­vice to the union with well-paid jobs in the de­part­ment, whether there is a va­cancy or not and whether the in­di­vid­ual has ap­pro­pri­ate skills and is qual­i­fied or not,” reads the re­port.

“This is not to im­ply that Sadtu peo­ple are not usu­ally highly skilled in­di­vid­u­als, but Sadtu ap­pears to have sat­u­rated schools, staff, prin­ci­pals, school gov­ern­ing bod­ies, cir­cuit and dis­trict of­fices, and the head of­fice with peo­ple whose loy­al­ties to their union are meant to su­per­sede other con­sid­er­a­tions.”

Sadtu re­sponds

Maluleke did not deny that Sadtu had taken con­trol of the run­ning of six prov­inces, but blamed weak lead­ers and man­agers for al­low­ing this to hap­pen.

“The de­part­ment’s of­fi­cials have to take con­trol and not hide be­hind Sadtu. Where there is weak lead­er­ship, oth­ers will move in and take over. It is a mat­ter of man­agers re­fus­ing to lead,” he said.

Maluleke said Sadtu had re­ceived a copy of Volmink’s re­port and was study­ing it.

He said the union sup­ported the move to “clean the sys­tem”.

Other find­ings

Volmink makes other find­ings re­gard­ing the in­di­vid­ual sales of posts.

The re­port states that a Dr Nh­lanhla Se­bele told in­ves­ti­ga­tors he had ap­plied for sev­eral prin­ci­pal posts while he was still a teacher be­fore he be­came a lec­turer at Free State Univer­sity.

He told in­ves­ti­ga­tors he was ap­proached by Sadtu’s Soweto North branch sec­re­tary, Peace Mok­iti, Wandile Si­wani and a Mr Ramokhwatse, who asked him to pay them R25 000 to be guar­an­teed a post.

Mok­iti is su­ing City Press for defama­tion re­gard­ing our ex­posé of his al­leged in­volve­ment in the jobs-for-cash scan­dal.

The re­port re­veals that a gov­ern­ing body mem­ber at Dur­ban’s Kenville Pri­mary School tried to so­licit a R50 000 bribe from a teacher for a prin­ci­pal’s post. It also re­lates how a Sadtu mem­ber at Kok­stad’s Seven Foun­tains Pri­mary School ar­ranged to have a teacher pay R30 000 for the school prin­ci­pal’s post.


What should be done to break Sadtu’s stran­gle­hold on the coun­try’s ed­u­ca­tion sys­tem?

SMS your thoughts to 35697 us­ing the key­word SADTU. SMSes cost R1.50. Please in­clude your name and prov­ince

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