PAYMENT OF SALARIES FOR TEMPORARY TEACHERS: WILL THE DEPARTMENT OR WON’T IT?

Will the Eastern Cape Department of Education make good on a written undertaking to pay temporary teachers appointed in January 2012 on Friday? (Subs: 15 June 2012).  This date, of 15 June 2012, is contained in a reply to a written question I sent to the MEC for Education, Mandla Makupula. However, the poor track record of the department leaves one in doubt whether these teachers will in fact receive the money that is due to them. I was previously assured by the department that payment would take place on 15 May 2012. This did not happen.

According to the reply, the department decided to “unblock bottlenecks” by moving the capturing and approval function to the Head Office and 10 out of the 23 district offices “to ensure that educators receive their salaries within thirty days after the date of appointment”. For the reply,click here.

Reply to question 87

Why is simple data-capturing taking six months to complete?

The Department also owes more than R19.6 million to educators who performed various duties since 2010, including 37% pay adjustments. Information from the department has details of teachers being owed amounts varying from R1 500 up to R340 000. For the reply click here.

Reply to question 18

The department has also admitted that it is unable to explain the exact date for the payments of all the outstanding amounts.  This implies that officials do not know whether they have the necessary funds available or whether additional funds will be appropriated in order for them to settle these accruals.

 

The non-payment of arrear salaries since 2010 as well as the non-payment of temporary teachers appointed in January 2012 is indicative of a department in a complete mess.  This is also an indication of the state of educational management and control in the province which is currently cemented on financial inefficiencies and lack of various control systems.

 

It has become a norm for the department to blame the district offices for inefficiency when the department itself has no control systems in place.

 

It is indeed a gloomy day for our teachers.  Whatever the department says must be taken with a pinch of salt.

 

This department is dysfunctional, regardless of national intervention and the shifting of the blame with not resolve issues.  What is needed is assertive leadership with service delivery as the core component.

 

This week I approached the Chairperson of the Portfolio Committee of Education, Mzoleli Mrara, to convene an urgent, special meeting to demand concrete answers from the department for once and for all on the fate of thousands of teachers in the province.  MPLs and the public at large are tired of the department’s confusing and dissimilar responses.  It is time that the MEC, Mandla Makupula, and the Superintendent-General, Mthunywa Ngonzo, come with precise answers.  I have the support of the ANC and all opposition parties in the legislature for such a meeting.

Morale among teachers is at an all time low:  relationships are on the rocks, stress levels are unbearable, banks are repossessing vehicles and homes and people have been blacklisted because they have not received their salaries.  One wonders how the MEC and SG would cope without pay for six months.

Matters for which no closure has been found up to now are:

  1. The remuneration of teachers appointed on a temporary basis since January 2012 but who have not been paid for their services;
  2. The non-filling of the more than 7 500 substantive vacant posts;
  3. The redeployment of excess teachers;
  4. The +/- R68 million in outstanding leave gratuities payable to teachers who have retired; and
  5. The R19.6 million in arrear salaries since 2010.

 

If the leadership of the department cannot be accountable the DA will have no choice but to once again call for the intervention of the Premier for heads to roll.

The DA believes that every South African should have the right and the opportunity to pursue their dreams and live a life they value.  Quality education gives our young people that opportunity.  The Eastern Cape government is letting down the youth of this province.