Bobby Soobrayan home for 7 months at taxpayers’ expense

2014-02-14 12:29

Seven months after Bobby Soobrayan, director-general of the department of basic education, was placed on special leave, he is still sitting at home – and has cost the taxpayer up to R760 000.

A source who didn’t want to be quoted said Soobrayan earns about R1.3 million per annum.

In July last year Basic Education Minister Angie Motshekga placed Soobrayan on special leave in order to allow him to prepare for a disciplinary hearing. The hearing followed complaints by the SA Democratic Teachers’ Union (Sadtu) that Soobrayan was reneging on collective bargaining agreements.

Soobrayan had erroneously signed a 100% increment for matric exam script markers. He later refused to implement the increment.

Sadtu complained to the Public Service Commission (PSC), asked President Jacob Zuma to axe Soobrayan and also took him and the department to the labour court.

The PSC recommended that Soobrayan be disciplined. Motshekga then appointed retired judge Willem van der Merwe to preside over the hearing.

The PSC and the Public Protector Thuli Madonsela also conducted separate investigations into the role played by Soobrayan in the respective non-delivery of workbooks in the Eastern Cape and textbooks in Limpopo in 2012.

The department’s spokesperson, Panyaza Lesufi, said Madonsela, the PSC and Van der Merwe had all completed their investigations.

With regards to Madonsela’s report, he said “there are issues which she didn’t take into account. So our legal team will meet with her in the next two weeks.”

On the PSC’s dossier, he said: “They have submitted a report to us, but we will forward that to the presidency as the investigation came about as a result of the presidential task team which the president had appointed to probe the books issue in Limpopo.”

Van der Merwe’s report, he said, would also be sent to Zuma’s office since Sadtu had asked the president’s office to deal with Motshekga and Soobrayan.

“It will be up to the presidency to decide what to do with the report. We are also waiting for the labour court to finalise the case so that we can make a public pronouncement on all the issues. All the reports should be attended to in three weeks.”

Soobrayan said: “The minister is handling these matters. It is all up to her to decide what to do.”

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