Retired EC teachers owed millions in unpaid leave gratuities

Issued by Edmund van Vuuren, MPL
Shadow MEC for Education

It is unacceptable that some educators that have exited the system more than 18 months ago are still waiting to receive their leave gratuities.

In response to a parliamentary question from the DA, Education MEC Fundile Gade revealed that there are 108 retired educators who are owed R8.8 million in leave gratuity, with some queries dating back to the beginning of 2021.

These educators, who dedicated their lives to assisting our learners, have had their retirement crippled. At a time when they were looking forward to a joyous retirement, they are instead fighting with the Department for funds they are entitled to.

The Leave gratuities in question are monies due to the educators appointed prior to 2003, who were entitled to capped leave, determined at 36 days of leave over a period of three years and who have not taken those accumulated leave days.

Although the capped leave was subsequently terminated in 2003, and educators were then only entitled to sick leave and normal school holiday days, those who had accumulated leave would be entitled to encashment of the said leave.

MEC Gade has indicated that the 108 retired educators will only be paid once the Eastern Cape Provincial Treasury has granted the Department of Education to process BAS payments.

The DA is horrified by the Department’s attitude of blaming other operational matters for their own ineptitude and incapacity and their careless demeanour in not having processed these payments

Under normal circumstances, educators who intend retiring, inform the Department and complete the necessary documentation at least three months prior to exiting the system.

How difficult can it then be to source the necessary authorisations to have the payment processed within those three months?

It seems that this Department has run out of money and is now coming up with excuses to save face.

It is clear the Department is playing for time, and only intends to pay these retirees in the next financial year. This is absolutely outrageous.

The DA demands that the Department provides reasons for not processing the payments on time.