Clock is ticking for ghost teachers

2013-03-18 00:00

NEARLY 10 000 teachers on the payroll of the KwaZulu-Natal Education Department have still not been verified, the provincial legislature was told last week.

However, the department was quick to say that they were not ghost teachers.

“There are no ghost teachers in KZN,” declared the department head, Dr Nkosinathi Sishi.

The department adopted a five-phase programme to track down ghost teachers. By the end of June last year, 22 000 had not pitched up during the head count for the first four phases.

This led to the department again appealing to teachers who have not been verified to present their ID books and credentials to district education offices.

The aim of the head count, which has been continuing for three years, has been to catch “ghost” staffers who do not exist in the system, but draw a salary.

The number of teachers who are unaccounted for has fallen to 9 910.

Sishi said he suspected that the unverified teachers were those the department had recently appointed and those on contract, and were not necessarily ghosts.

He has given the unverified teachers a month to show up or have their salaries frozen.

The department said that by the end of phase five, the monthly financial loss due to staff who could not be verified, but who still appeared on the payroll, had been significantly reduced.

He said the perception that KZN had many ghost teachers was created by teachers who drew more than one salary, which increased the number in the computerised salary system.

Sishi explained that the system was complex: “Sometimes there’s one person drawing more than one salary, so it is assumed that they are ‘ghosts’, only to find that there’s a teacher who becomes an examiner or a marker, or a teacher who works at night as an adult educator, which increases the number.”

• gabisile.ngcobo@witness.co.za

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