UNION WANTS NEW JOBS-FOR-CASH PROBE

CityPress - - Front Page - SIPHO MASONDO sipho.masondo@city­press.co.za

Teach­ers’ union Natu has called on Pres­i­dent Ja­cob Zuma to ap­point a ju­di­cial com­mis­sion of in­quiry to in­ves­ti­gate the jobs-for-cash scan­dal, claim­ing that the one ap­pointed by Ba­sic Ed­u­ca­tion Min­is­ter Angie Mot­shekga did not have enough teeth.

Natu – the coun­try’s third-largest teach­ers’ union, with just over 53 000 mem­bers – said that the min­is­te­rial task team’s re­port, com­piled by renowned aca­demic and Umalusi head Pro­fes­sor John Volmink, “did not even be­gin to scratch the sur­face of the ice­berg”.

“Cer­tainly, in our view, this re­port does not carry the com­pre­hen­sive­ness, depth and scope that we an­tic­i­pated,” the union ar­gued in its sub­mis­sion, con­tained in the fi­nalised Volmink re­port that Mot­shekga re­leased on Fri­day evening.

“We pointed out that the meth­ods the team was us­ing to in­ves­ti­gate the very se­ri­ous al­le­ga­tions of sell­ing of posts were both grossly in­ad­e­quate and in­ef­fec­tive,” said the union.

It added that a ju­di­cial com­mis­sion of in­quiry was the re­al­is­tic way to in­ves­ti­gate the

sell­ing of posts – and that pub­lic con­fi­dence in such a process would be high, com­pared with an or­di­nary min­is­te­rial task team. It stated that the ju­di­cial com­mis­sion would have pow­ers that the de­part­ment’s in­ves­ti­ga­tors did not have, in­clud­ing to “com­pel wit­nesses to tes­tify while en­sur­ing their pro­tec­tion from pos­si­ble ha­rass­ment or in­tim­i­da­tion”. Volmink con­cedes in his re­port that he was un­able to com­pel wit­nesses to tes­tify and, as a re­sult, he was un­able to com­pre­hen­sively in­ves­ti­gate the

jobs-for-cash scam.

The scam came to light fol­low­ing a City Press ex­posé two years ago, which re­vealed that prin­ci­pals’ posts were be­ing sold by teach­ers and of­fi­cials af­fil­i­ated to teach­ers’ union Sadtu for up­ward of R30 000, and that teach­ing jobs were be­ing ex­changed for cash, sex and live­stock.

In its sub­mis­sion, Sadtu – which de­layed the re­lease of the re­port sev­eral times, on the grounds of want­ing to make ad­di­tional rep­re­sen­ta­tions to Volmink’s team – laid into the find­ings and dis­missed many of them as “ir­ra­tional and bi­ased”.

Sadtu ar­gued that Volmink’s team had un­fairly tar­geted it, strayed from its terms of ref­er­ence and made defam­a­tory state­ments against it with­out ev­i­dence to back up many of its con­clu­sions.

It also took is­sue with Volmink’s find­ings that the SA Coun­cil for Ed­u­ca­tors should be freed from the union’s dom­i­na­tion.

Sadtu’s bosses fur­ther ar­gued that all unions were pro­por­tion­ally rep­re­sented at the coun­cil.

It said it was not in­volved in the jobs-for-cash scam, nor did it sup­port or con­done it.

“It would, in the cir­cum­stances, be grossly un­fair to at­tribute blame to Sadtu for the ac­tions of in­di­vid­u­als, whether they were or­di­nary mem­bers or of­fi­cials of the union,” said Sadtu in its sub­mis­sion.

“Such ac­tions are con­trary to the po­si­tion of the union and Sadtu has pub­licly con­demned it.

“It is plain that the MTT [min­is­te­rial task team] chose to pur­sue a po­lit­i­cal agenda for an undis­closed and ul­te­rior end.

“This is un­law­ful and should be rec­ti­fied. The find­ings by the team once again are a demon­stra­tion of a Sadtu-tar­geted in­ves­ti­ga­tion, which was aimed at dis­cred­it­ing the union at all costs,” the union said.

While the coun­try’s sec­ond-largest union, Nap­tosa, wel­comed the re­port “as an hon­est at­tempt to ad­dress a vex­ing prob­lem”, it ac­cused Volmink’s team of “union-bash­ing”.

Nap­tosa pro­posed the out­sourc­ing of the re­cruit­ment of teach­ers un­til a per­ma­nent so­lu­tion to the sell­ing of jobs was found.

Last week, City Press re­ported that the final doc­u­ment re­vealed that Sadtu’s mem­ber­ship of the tri­par­tite al­liance gave the union “enor­mous power and in­flu­ence” over the ed­u­ca­tion sys­tem.

The Volmink re­port also found that this “dan­ger­ous and in­ap­pro­pri­ate” sit­u­a­tion placed the ed­u­ca­tion sys­tem at the mercy of po­lit­i­cal pro­cesses.

Sadtu of­fi­cials, re­vealed the re­port, had also cap­tured six of the nine pro­vin­cial ed­u­ca­tion de­part­ments.

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