Sadtu fights job­s­for-cash re­port

Union threat­ens to go to court to de­mand its right to make sub­mis­sions as min­is­ter de­lays re­lease of find­ings for a fur­ther two weeks

CityPress - - News - SIPHO MASONDO sipho.masondo@city­

Teach­ers’ union Sadtu is threat­en­ing to haul the depart­ment of ba­sic ed­u­ca­tion to court over its re­port into the union’s jobs-for-cash scam. The re­port, which was first sup­posed to have been re­leased in Fe­bru­ary, was due for re­lease on Fri­day by Min­is­ter Angie Mot­shekga. The re­lease was de­layed yet again, for a fur­ther two weeks, the depart­ment said in a state­ment on Fri­day.

How­ever, Sadtu has threat­ened to take the depart­ment to court if it does not al­low it to make sub­mis­sions to the re­port’s au­thor, Pro­fes­sor John Volmink, who headed the min­is­te­rial task team in­ves­ti­gat­ing the scan­dal.

Sadtu sec­re­tary Mug­wena Maluleke told City Press on Fri­day: “We are not go­ing to in­ter­dict the min­is­ter from re­leas­ing the re­port. We also want it to be re­leased. Af­ter all, it is us who called for the in­ves­ti­ga­tion into the jobs-for-cash scan­dal. But we will go to court to en­force our rights. We will go to court to force the task team to al­low us to make rep­re­sen­ta­tions to it, it is our right.”

The scan­dal was ex­posed by a City Press in­ves­ti­ga­tion two years ago, which re­vealed that prin­ci­pals’ po­si­tions were be­ing sold for up­wards of R30 000. Teach­ers’ posts were also be­ing sold for live­stock and cash amounts of as lit­tle as R6 000.

A draft re­port, the find­ings of which City Press pub­lished in De­cem­ber, found Sadtu was in “de facto” con­trol of six pro­vin­cial ed­u­ca­tion de­part­ments. Volmink also found Sadtu had gained con­trol by “us­ing mil­i­tancy to ex­ert pres­sure on its mem­bers to be union­ists first and pro­fes­sion­als sec­ond”. The re­port also found the wide-scale sell­ing of posts.

City Press un­der­stands the rep­re­sen­ta­tions the union wants to make to the panel in­cludes a claim that Volmink’s team “thumb-sucked its find­ings and has no facts to back them up”.

A source close to the union’s le­gal team said the union would also ar­gue that Volmink’s team “strayed away from their terms of ref­er­ence, used the wrong method­ol­ogy in their in­ves­ti­ga­tion, and wrong­fully and un­fairly tar­gets the or­gan­i­sa­tion”.

The union com­mis­sioned its own lawyers to pro­duce a 90-page re­port and le­gal opin­ion, which rub­bishes Volmink’s find­ings.

“Chances are that this thing is go­ing to be­come very messy,” said the source close to Sadtu’s le­gal team. “Af­ter 14 days, it will be post­poned again, I can guar­an­tee you. Do you think that Angie [Mot­shekga] will re­lease a re­port that says the ANC is cor­rupt, in this cur­rent en­vi­ron­ment, and sur­vive in her job?”

Maluleke con­firmed the union sought le­gal opin­ion on the pre­lim­i­nary re­port. “We found that the method­ol­ogy was flawed. The find­ings were not based on facts, but on in­nu­en­dos, opin­ion and sug­ges­tions. The re­port also dab­bled into the re­la­tion­ship be­tween us, Cosatu, the ANC and the SA Com­mu­nist Party. The fact is that the task team has made se­ri­ous flaws. They have also made un­founded al­le­ga­tions.”

Maluleke said Volmink was drag­ging his feet in honour­ing Mot­shekga’s di­rec­tive that all teach­ers’ unions should be al­lowed to com­ment and make rep­re­sen­ta­tions on the re­port.

A se­nior of­fi­cial at the depart­ment of ba­sic ed­u­ca­tion, who spoke on con­di­tion of anonymity, said Sadtu “in­sists they want to meet Volmink’s team, but we don’t know what they want to say”. “But the re­port will not change; it will stay the same.” The of­fi­cial said there was a big bat­tle brew­ing within the depart­ment and se­nior of­fi­cials be­lieved Sadtu would push for the re­port’s re­lease to be stalled in­def­i­nitely.

“Re­mem­ber, there are po­lit­i­cal im­pli­ca­tions. Any neg­a­tive in­for­ma­tion ahead of the elec­tions is not good for the rul­ing party and its al­lies,” the of­fi­cial said. The re­port was handed to Cabi­net three weeks ago. “We sus­pect they lob­bied some mem­bers of Cabi­net to en­sure the re­port doesn’t come out.”

In a state­ment on Fri­day, depart­ment spokesper­son Eli­jah Mh­langa said Mot­shekga met all unions this week and they asked for more time to “re­fine their in­puts and re­sponses to the re­port”.

“Stake­hold­ers’ re­sponses and in­puts will be con­sid­ered by the task team and be­fore the fi­nal re­port is pub­lished,” he said.

Nom­bulelo Ny­athela of NGO Equal Ed­u­ca­tion slammed the de­lays, say­ing they hoped the depart­ment was not “sani­tis­ing” the re­port.

“What is it that is tak­ing so long? The public has waited long enough and we all know there is crony­ism and wide­spread cor­rup­tion in the ap­point­ment of teach­ers.”


Mug­wena Maluleke

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