The Department of Education must come clean about whether it has run out of money and is playing for time until after the end of the financial year on 28 February before it pays temporary teachers in 19 out of the 23 districts in the province. A total of 2 202 temporary teachers were appointed until the end of March, of which only those in four districts have been paid.
The department has crafted the excuse that the Treasury is not authorising payment because “documents that were requested from temporary teachers are incomplete”. I find it strange that temporary teachers who have been in the system for more than one month have also not been paid. It seems that the department is deliberately creating confusion to buy time.
This tactic means that the department will continue in its cycle of borrowing against future budgets.
Of greater concern is the pain and stress suffered by these teachers, who are unable to pay accounts and keep up with bond- and vehicle repayments. One wonders how the MEC and acting SG would cope without pay. The least the MEC, Mandla Makupula, can do, is be open and transparent about the financial situation in the department.
Last year, temporary teachers were not paid for six months. This treatment of people by the Eastern Cape administration is nothing less than a disgrace.
The Democratic Alliance can relate to the pain and suffering of these educators and the question that we want to pose, is whether the department can relate to the suffering of these teachers. If indeed so, they have a funny way of showing it.
The government has given an undertaking that all service providers should be paid within 30 days. This is also a House Resolution. Why can’t House Resolutions be implemented? Teachers can be regarded as service providers. The Department should be held liable for interest accrued by unpaid teachers.
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.