Whistle­blower takes on education depart­ment

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

A Dur­ban teacher who blew the whis­tle about how he paid a top pro­vin­cial of­fi­cial from teach­ers’ union Sadtu R12 000 for a teach­ing post is about to lose his home af­ter not be­ing paid for the past five months.

Nkonzwenhle Mqadi (48), who claims his salary was stopped in re­tal­i­a­tion for his fail­ure to keep up monthly R1 000 pay­ments to Sadtu pro­vin­cial sports and recre­ation co­or­di­na­tor Them­bek­ile Makhanya, is also bat­tling to treat his di­a­betes be­cause his med­i­cal aid has been stopped. Now, Mqadi is ap­proach­ing the Education Labour Re­la­tions Coun­cil to de­clare a dis­pute with the KwaZulu-Na­tal education depart­ment in a bid to be paid and get back to work, af­ter months of meet­ings with se­nior depart­ment of­fi­cials.

He also gave ev­i­dence to in­ves­ti­ga­tors from the Volmink com­mis­sion, headed by Pro­fes­sor John Volmink and ap­pointed by depart­ment of ba­sic education min­is­ter Angie Mot­shekga in re­sponse to a City Press ex­posé of the union’s jobs-for-cash scam nearly two years ago.

In Novem­ber, Mqadi told City Press how he al­legedly paid Makhanya for a trans­fer to Sophie Phewa Pri­mary School at Fol­weni, which falls un­der the depart­ment’s Um­lazi cir­cuit.

He paid her R1 000 a month for the job, but when he stopped pay­ing a year later, his salary was al­legedly stopped il­le­gally and he had to leave the school be­cause of threats to his life.

He was re­in­stated, but his job was given to some­one else and his salary was stopped for a se­cond time last year.

“I don’t know how much more of this I can take,” Mqadi said this week. “I have not been paid my salary for five months.

“My poli­cies and in­vest­ments have all lapsed. I am in dan­ger of los­ing my home and my health is fail­ing. I am di­a­betic and need med­i­cal aid to pay for my treat­ment.

“My debit or­ders have failed for five months and my fi­nances are a mess. I re­ally don’t know what to do next.”

Mqadi said he had not only met with Volmink’s in­ves­ti­ga­tors, but had “held meet­ings with se­nior of­fi­cials from the [education] depart­ment and the of­fice of the premier”.

“I have laid crim­i­nal charges and fol­lowed all the proper chan­nels, but I am be­ing pun­ished for com­ing out and telling the truth.

“I can­not go and work at Sophie Phewa or any­where else in Um­bum­bulu be­cause there have been a se­ries of threats to my life. I have been told that I will be killed if I re­port to work there. I fear for my life. “All I want to do is go back to work and teach. “I was as­sured by the head of hu­man re­sources that I would be paid in the De­cem­ber 22 salary run, which was used to pay mark­ers and bonuses,” he said, “but noth­ing, has come of that.”

He said he is now forced to ap­proach the Education Labour Re­la­tions Coun­cil for a con­do­na­tion hear­ing, al­low­ing him to de­clare a dis­pute with the depart­ment for un­fair labour prac­tice and con­struc­tive dis­missal.

Ear­lier this week Mqadi spent a day giv­ing ev­i­dence to se­nior of­fi­cials from reg­u­la­tory body the SA Coun­cil for Ed­u­ca­tors, in­clud­ing its head of le­gal affairs Ge­orge Moroa­sui, about how he had paid for the post and which union and de­part­men­tal of­fi­cials had been in­volved.

On Thurs­day, Mqadi re­ceived a let­ter from the depart­ment in­struct­ing him to re­port for duty at the Um­bum­bulu cir­cuit of­fice so his place­ment at Enkany­isweni Pri­mary School in Um­bum­bulu could be “fa­cil­i­tated”.

Education depart­ment spokesper­son Sicelo Khuzwayo said Mqadi’s salary would be paid once he was “for­mally at­tached to a school”.

“We can­not pay a per­son who has not been work­ing. We are do­ing our best to en­sure that the is­sues re­gard­ing his salary are ad­dressed in an eq­ui­table man­ner and that the ed­u­ca­tor gets back to work,” said Khuzwayo.

He said the al­leged il­le­gal re­moval of Mqadi from the pay­roll and the job-for-cash scam were be­ing in­ves­ti­gated.

“What hap­pens next will de­pend on the out­come of that in­ves­ti­ga­tion. The in­ves­ti­ga­tion does not mean that the ed­u­ca­tor can­not re­sume du­ties and will not be fur­ther in­con­ve­nienced in the in­terim,” he said.

Nkonzwenhle Mqadi

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