Teacher still paid after seven years of sick leave

2014-10-02 00:00

A PIETERMARITZBURG teacher on sick leave for seven years after suffering chronic heart failure is allegedly continuing to draw a salary.

The Witness understands that Ajith Mangaroo, an Afrikaans and English teacher from Richlea Primary School in Richmond, last reported for duty in May, 2008.

It is alleged that Mangaroo is working at an Engen garage’s carwash in Mkondeni on a part-time basis. A well-placed source said Mangaroo is still on the Education Department’s payroll.

“He keeps on sending medical certificates and still gets paid,” said the source.

An Engen garage petrol attendant, whose name is known to The Witness, confirmed that Mangaroo, who has been working at the school since 1985, works at the carwash. “He manages the carwash. Even on weekends, he is here.”

Another source said Mangaroo drives cars into the carwash and sometimes works there the whole week.

Another source at the carwash confirmed he worked there part-time.

The Witness visited the garage this week and found Mangaroo. He denied working there, saying he drives his wife, Shelly, to the garage where she works.

“I have been on leave since 2008. Doctors recommended a medical boarding and the department is working on it, and I’m not allowed to comment on it,” he said.

He confirmed he was still getting a salary. “I’m still in the system. I’m still getting paid, but partially.”

He said he has had a couple of strokes and finds himself in the ICU at least three times a year. He said doctors found his arteries had blocked and advised him to have stents put in.

The school could not be drawn to comment but referred queries to the department.

Department spokesperson Sihle Mlotshwa said department was not aware of the matter.

“This is very disturbing to hear. We have asked our human resource officials to establish the cause of this and sort out the situation as a matter of urgency,” said Mlotshwa.

A similar incident happened early this year where a Phoenix, Durban, teacher was on sick leave for seven years because of a “sore throat” while he continued being paid.

Paul Colditz, chief executive officer of the Federation of Governing Bodies of South Africa, said teachers who are not fit for duty should be dealt with in accordance with the Employment of Educators Act.

“It is absolutely unacceptable and unbelievable. Those who have allowed this to happen should be held accountable and charged with misconduct,” said Colditz.

THE DA’s spokesperson on provincial education Mbali Ntuli said such cases should be investigated by Health Risk Managers who are independent companies appointed by the Department of Public Service and Administration.

“This is by no means an isolated case and the problem is rife since the KZN Education Department does not have the right mechanisms in place to control abuse of the system,” said Ntuli.

Ntuli said without the assessment of the Health Risk Managers it is impossible for the department to determine the validity of claims.

“This leaves huge gaps that can be exploited for personal gain, as seems to be the case of this teacher who supposedly can do another job other than his own.”

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