The Department of Education in the Eastern Cape must stop shifting the goal posts. I have today 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.
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.
There have been so many different responses from the department. No-one is coming with a definite message. What the DA wants to know is simple: what are the reasons why teachers have not been appointed, why those teachers who have been appointed still don’t have appointment letters and why teachers have not been paid.
The DA also wants to know why there are problems and how quickly the problems can be resolved, whatever they are. We demand that teachers are paid within the next week and that blockages are removed so that teachers can receive what is due to them.
The MEC and SG continue to blame other role players. It is time that they stand up and take responsibility instead of pointing fingers. 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.