Sadtu still giving jobs to pals

2014-11-02 17:00

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Commission is probing corruption at schools, but the scam continues, writes Sipho Masondo

Threats of ‘chaos’, and a candidate’s name ‘scratched out with a pen’ and replaced with another. These are some of the newest post-fixing allegations to emerge against members of Sadtu.

The union is currently under investigation by Basic Education Minister Angie Motshekga after City Press blew the lid off a “jobs-for-cash scandal” earlier this year that implicated high-ranking union officials across the country.

Motshekga’s task team will visit provinces next week to begin the process of gathering evidence. Its first port of call is KwaZulu-Natal. A source within the department, who asked not to be named, said a hotline for tip-offs would be established soon.

But two new cases uncovered by City Press suggest it’s business as usual for some Sadtu members in Limpopo and Gauteng.

A teacher at Fons Luminis Secondary School in Diepkloof was allegedly denied a promotion last month because she was not an SA Democratic Teachers’ Union (Sadtu) member.

Documents in City Press’ possession reveal that Thandi Ntsoele, a member of the National Professional Teachers’ Organisation of SA (Naptosa), scored top marks in her application to become the head of the school’s English department.

Ntsoele scored 108 marks while a Sadtu member came in third with 97 marks.

A teacher at the school petitioned Gauteng education MEC Panyaza Lesufi to intervene and he sent Esther Ndlebe, a human resources manager in his department, to investigate.

In minutes taken at the school during a meeting convened by Ndlebe, and which City Press has seen, principal Livhuwani Sundani was accused by teachers of saying the candidates’ scores should be altered to avoid “chaos”.

“Sundani called the panellists and explained to them that if the top three recommended by the panel were to be submitted in that order, there would be chaos at the school and that their lives and those of their families would be in danger,” the minutes read.

Those quoted in the minutes went on to claim that Sundani said the results should be altered “because number one [Ntsoele] is not a Sadtu member but a Naptosa affiliate”.

The minutes reveal Sundani refused to submit the original scores.

Contacted by City Press, Sundani would not comment on the allegations.

Ndlebe was unable to resolve the impasse and Lesufi’s spokesperson, Phumla Sekhonyane, said the school had been referred to the department’s dispute resolution department.

The school governing body at Sefahone Primary in Bolobedu, Limpopo, recommended the appointment of Hlupheka Malema as its principal in 2011. The education department’s district office supported this and sent documents on to head office in Polokwane for approval.

Officials there prepared a memo confirming the appointment – but when the documents returned, Malema’s name had been scratched out and replaced with a junior teacher’s from Sefahone.

A source with knowledge of the case said a senior manager at the department in Polokwane allegedly scratched out Malema’s name after lower-ranking officials refused to type a memorandum containing the junior teacher’s name.

“He was pressured by Sadtu bosses to make sure [the junior teacher] got the position,” the source said.

Malema is not a Sadtu member; the junior teacher is. Malema said he was consulting lawyers and considering taking the department to court.

“I sent the matter to arbitration and the department was willing to fix the mistake. But the person representing the department at the arbitration was changed, and the new one failed to implement decisions taken. I’m now left with no choice but to consider going to court.”

But Limpopo’s education department spokesperson, Paena Galane, said an arbitrator had found no wrongdoing on the department’s part.

He said the Employment of Educators Act provided for the head of department to appoint any of the recommended candidates. This was “despite the order of preference”, Galane said.

Sadtu general secretary Mugwena Maluleke said the behaviour being alleged was “very wrong”.

“As a union, we distance ourselves from such. We can’t condone or promote the selling of positions. We must all fight this,” said Maluleke.

The union had met Motshekga’s team twice, he said. “We aim to cooperate fully with them.”

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