A VICIOUS tug-of-war is brewing over slashed teaching jobs in the province for 2014.

A preliminary report seen by the Daily Dispatch shows that jobs are to be cut in all 23 districts of education.

Earlier this month, education MEC Mandla Makupula announced that 5 000 teaching jobs would be lost next year.

Yesterday, the provincial leaders of the South African Democratic Teacher’s Union (Sadtu) accused the department of manipulating pupil numbers to buy support from communities.

Sadtu provincial secretary Mncekeleli Ndongeni said the department’s actions went against the constitutional rights of children to education. “They are manipulating the numbers.

“We have not been shown any reports from the Statistics SA investigation.”

The Dispatch’s sister paper the Herald reported that 100 000 ghost pupils were found during a head count by Statistics SA, which was 1 000 fewer than reported by the Daily Dispatch in 2011.

But education spokesman Malibongwe Mtima denied that the department had worked from the Stats SA report, and Stats SA provincial manager Zandisile Nkosiyane said he also had no knowledge of such figures.

“We are still busy with verification.

“The preliminary report will be issued at the end of this month. We do, however, update the department.”

Nkosiyane said a final report would be made available to the department in November.

Ndongeni said the provincial government was paralysing education.

“They made the declaration based on budget [imperatives rather] than the curriculum needs of children.

“They are not prioritising education, not paying teachers and now they want to overburden teachers at schools with work. We are going to strike back.”

He said schools would suffer next year because of teacher shortages.

“We are going to continue to see pupils leaving this province to attend school elsewhere.”

Peter Duminy of the Combined Trade Union said the reduction of jobs resulted in most schools losing at least one post.

But, Duminy said, there were extreme cases highlighted in the preliminary report for distribution of posts where schools that had not decreased pupil numbers had teaching posts cut by 13 posts.

He said the department had still to provide answers for discrepancies in the allocation of posts.

DA MPL Edmund van Vuuren said Makupula should have reduced his administrative staff.

Attempts to get comments from other political parties were unsuccessful. —