Staffers slam exam section managers

2010-02-23 00:00

AN administrative officer in the Pietermaritzburg exam section of the Education Department has been accused of using a state vehicle as a family car.

It is alleged that the officer takes the car home every day, ferries his children to school and even gives colleagues lifts to as far as Sweetwaters on a regular basis.

Even though his position does not allow him access to state cars, he is said to have been doing this since 2007 and his manager is aware of the abuse.

Staffers who disclosed this alleged that the section is at breaking point and say that serious fraud, mismanagement and nepotism have plagued the department for some time.

The issues culminated in a two-month strike last year when the administrative staff in this office, joined by staff in the department’s service centres, called for decisive steps to be taken against corrupt managers.

According to staffers, the administrative officer in question is the second-in-command in that office and is supposed to be managing the rest of the administration staff.

But they say he plays computer games all day long because he doesn’t know his job.

They claim that since the matric supplementary exams started last week, they have not been briefed on the programme plan or how responsibilities will be shared.

Instead, the manager and his superior, who should be office-bound especially during an exam period, are going out delivering papers when they should be at the office to answer problems that may arise at the different exam nodal points.

The staff believe the managers are claiming overtime for their travels.

“We sit around in the office doing nothing. They lock themselves in meetings for hours … If you were to ask them right now where we are as the staff under them, they would not know,” said one employee.

The Witness is in possession of a trip authorisation form granting the manager permission to use the car in question, an Opel Corsa with registration plates KZN 66266. The authorisation is for various dates in 2008.

The reasons for the trips to different schools in Estcourt, Howick and Durban vary from attending to exam matters, the collection and delivery of a scanner and the delivery of scripts.

A Witness reporter and photographer on Wednesday camped outside the department’s offices to investigate the allegations.

A school pupil in uniform, believed to be the manager’s son, was first seen climbing into the car. An hour later he was joined by the manager, who drove off with the pupil.

On Thursday, the vehicle was tagged and The Witness was able to take the picture accompanying this article. Two other people were in the car with the manager.

But after the picture was taken, the manager allegedly drove his own car home on Friday and arrived in it yesterday morning.

The Witness also has in its possession a travel claim form for the manager’s travels to marking centres for the marking of exams in 2007.

In 2008, R4 714 was claimed, supposedly for the manager’s use of his own vehicle to get to Indumiso marking centre from Karkloof, even though the employees say he only used the state car over this period.

The staffers further claim that the same people are always employed for contract work when they say policy strictly states that contracts cannot exceed three years.

“All of them are their relatives, their friends or girlfriends.”

One position was held open until a manager’s daughter had given birth “and she walked straight into the job”.

“The interview processes are never followed and posts are never advertised.”

The staff said they met the district manager last year to discuss the issues, but still nothing has been done.

“The exams section needs investigating. It is corrupt. The paperwork is a mess and scripts are being lost because the person who is supposed to lead runs away from work …”

On Friday, spokeswoman Mbali Thusi said the department is not aware of the allegations, but will investigate them.

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