Blitz onfake KZN teachers

2012-06-21 00:00

ALMOST 100 teachers in KwaZulu-Natal found to have fake qualifications must pay back the salaries they earned while employed, the Education Department said yesterday.

In 2010 the department embarked on a exercise to get rid of ghost teachers and those with fake qualifications.

Spokesperson Muzi Mahlambi said they had removed the bogus teachers from their posts.

“The department will have to recover the money they earned.

“The investigation, which has been running for the past two years, is in its final stages, with a report on the headcount expected by August.”

Mahlambi was unable to say how much would have to be repaid by the 97 fake teachers identified in KZN.

Anthony Pierce, of the National Professional Teachers’ Organisation of South Africa, said the department would have to hold on to the pension funds of the fake teachers until they paid the money back.

National Teachers’ Union deputy president Allen Thompson said the “teachers” were victims of their circumstances.

He said some had not graduated from the institutions where they were studying because they had not paid outstanding fees, but this was not taken into consideration.

He added that some teachers had produced fake qualifications that looked authentic, but it was discovered that they had not registered with the relevant institutions at all.

The department is also trying to root out ghost teachers, said Mahlambi. “There is no place to hide now because the system identifies those who have presented themselves [to be counted] and those who haven’t, but are still drawing salaries.”

The findings of the headcount exercise would be handed over to other state agencies for further investigation, he said.

Also yesterday, the department announced that 30 principals in KZN had been suspended pending an investigation into the misappropriation of schools funds.

Education MEC Senzo Mchunu said: “Our observation is that many of our principals live above their means, thereby becoming susceptible to corrupt practices.

The department needed to establish “strong finance committees that are going to ensure that all schools deal judiciously with school funds”.

Mchunu said the department would take drastic action against principals found guilty of misusing funds.

• mlondi.radebe@witness.co.za

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