Indiscriminate and unexpected deductions from teachers who have been on incapacity leave without any substantiated documentation from the Department of Education must be condemned in the strongest sense possible. It is unfair that teachers must suffer because the department is in an administrative mess.
The Eastern Cape Department of Education is notorious for habitually doing incomprehensible things for which they have been successfully challenged in court.
This department has done it once more in that it has indiscriminately deducted monies from teachers’ salaries who they assumed had taken leave without pay.
The DA is aware that there are unscrupulous teachers who have abused the system, but to treat as frauds all those teachers who are on Incapacity leave and waiting for their applications for ill health retirement to be processed is unacceptable.
The majority of these teachers have since 2007 being on incapacity leave and have duly completed all documentation for the appropriate leave but, as it is characteristic of this beleaguered department, these teachers were never informed in writing that their leave was not approved, or that leave was to be taken without pay.
In most cases substitutes were appointed which indicates that approval for leave was granted. These unlawful deductions is indicative of a department that has no credible data bases and filing systems, to the extent that they cannot produce relevant documentation in order to positively identify those who have transgressed. Their filing system is in a shambles. At head office files are stored in a box and nobody is accountable for this administrative mess.
The DA challenges the department to produce the necessary documentation in which these teachers were indeed informed that the leave they had applied for was not approved or that it was granted without pay.
In one instance a teacher from Port Elizabeth had R32 500,00 deducted from her salary after only being informed in writing in August of 2011 that leave taken during 2007 and 2009 was leave without pay. This teacher, like many others had in 2007 applied for Ill Health Retirement and had timeously submitted the duly completed forms to the department to be processed and finalized. No responses were forthcoming from the department. Instead they were repeatedly instructed to submit new applications.
Since 2007 the department has spent more than R54 million on more than 140 teachers who have been on incapacity leave, waiting for their Ill Health Retirement applications to be processed. This Department must be blamed for its incompetency in not processing these applications within the stipulated timeframes and for the wastage of such a large amount of money
The DA is calling upon the Superintendent-General of the Department of Education in the Eastern Cape, Advocate Modidima Mannya to immediately reverse these deductions in the light of the aforementioned reasons, until such time a thorough investigation is held in order to determine what gave rise to these unlawful deductions and who must be held accountable.
The DA hopes that this matter will be resolved speedily in the interest of both teacher and department in such a manner that legal action is prevented.