Three categories of temporary teachers have been waiting almost six months to be paid. While the Democratic Alliance welcomes the rehiring of some 4 000 temporary teachers as reported in the media (The Herald and Daily Dispatch, 22 May 2012), the ability of the Eastern Cape Department of Education to pay its teachers must be questioned.
Red-tape and bureaucratic bungling resulting in the non-payment of teachers illustrates an administration totally out of touch with its core function. The DA has been reliably informed that authorisation for the payment of certain categories of teachers are being withheld. Three categories of teachers, namely Funza Lushaka bursary holders, teachers appointed on a protected temporary basis and some teachers appointed on a temporary basis since January 2012 have been omitted from lists for approval for payment. It has taken the Department of Education more than five months to verify and validate the necessary documents, resulting in these teachers not being paid.
I have asked parliamentary questions as to why these categories of teachers have not been paid, which officials are accountable for these discrepancies, what punitive action will be taken and how the non-payment of salaries will be prevented in the future. The MEC must provide reasons for this unsatisfactory situation and how he intends to remedy it.
It is incumbent upon the MEC for Education to unblock the payment system by 31 May 2012. Should no payments to the aforementioned teachers be affected by this date, the DA will have no other alternative but to formally call for heads to roll, including that of the MEC.
Although other teachers appointed on a temporary- and contract basis have received their salaries, this non-payment of salaries to certain categories of teachers is a travesty of justice. This is an indictment of the state of education in the Eastern Cape, where a simple task cannot be done within set timeframes. This abasement of our teachers should be stopped immediately.
The DA believes that every South African should have the right to work in a favourable environment and to live a life they can value. Everything the government does should be done to make a better life for all.