More jobs for sale in Sadtu racket

2014-05-04 15:00

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Crooked Sadtu officials are selling not only principal posts, but are manipulating the education system across provinces to control teachers’ appointments, retirement packages and transfers in return for bribes of as little as R6?500.

Last week City Press exposed the corruption practised by senior Sadtu members who place principals in posts in return for bribes of at least R30?000 for each post.

On Friday night, Basic Education Minister Angie Motshekga asked President Jacob Zuma to institute a judicial commission of inquiry into Sadtu’s alleged criminal business.

Motshekga wants an inquiry with the power and money to place witnesses in protection programmes and to institute criminal charges against those involved.

The City Press investigation was sparked by the arrest last month of former Sadtu provincial secretary Mfundi Sibiya and a group of Sadtu principals for the murder of whistle-blower and KwaZulu-Natal south coast school principal, Nkosinathi Zondi.

However, this racket is only the tip of Sadtu’s alleged racket.

After our exposé, City Press received a flood of tipoffs from teachers across the country?–?in provinces including Gauteng, Mpumalanga and Free State?– revealing that the scam was far more widespread than the racketeering we reported taking place in KwaZulu-Natal, North West and Limpopo.

Concerned teachers, officials and school governing body members painted a chilling picture of how teachers were appointed based on what they could pay, not their ability to teach.

City Press can reveal that:

>> To make back the money they paid for their posts, some KwaZulu-Natal principals are selling entry-level teaching jobs at their schools for R6?500 to R7?000 and upwards;

>> Lateral transfers within and between provinces are being sold for upwards of R10?000. The more popular the school, particularly in the big cities, the more expensive the transfer;

>> Deputy principal and head of department posts at schools are being sold for R15?000 and R10?000 respectively; and

>> Teachers are opting for early retirement so that they can use their pensions to settle their debts. By law, they cannot be re-employed for at least a year.

However, they return illegally after three months in return for bribes to Sadtu officials of between R30?000 and R50?000.

Their vacant posts are filled by temporary teachers so they can then return to their jobs or be placed at another school. The practice is so common that it has a name in KwaZulu-Natal?–?Is’dudla (The fat one).

A KwaZulu-Natal education official, who asked not to be named, said: “This is killing the education system.

“People who have applied for transfers from rural to urban schools 10 years ago are still waiting, but those who are paying Sadtu members who work for the department’s human resources are getting placed in months.

“There is manipulation at every level of appointment.

“Regulations state that when teachers retire, they cannot come back for 12 months. In KwaZulu-Natal if you agree to pay the R30?000 to R50?000 required, the post is filled by a temporary teacher who is removed and replaced by you after three months.

“This is so common that it even has a code name – Is’dudla,” said the official.

A principal forced out of his post in favour of a paying Sadtu member said he believed the racket was at least partly responsible for the country’s education crisis.

“You have people who are not qualified being placed in key posts they have paid for while those with the experience, skills and qualifications are not getting jobs.

“How can a person who doesn’t qualify to run a school be given these kind of powers? Obviously, they are going to fail and it is the kids in the schools who will suffer,” he said.

This appears to be the case in at least one Eastern Cape school.

Documents in City Press’ possession show that a principal and Sadtu founder member was appointed in 2006 ahead of 95 better-qualified applicants. He had no certificates to prove his qualifications and, nine years later, has still not given any to the department.

Teachers at his school were told he would be appointed principal 14 months before the post was advertised. The principal is now believed to be eyeing the Uitenhage district director’s post when the incumbent retires next year.

In North West, the provincial government has stopped district officials and school governing bodies from appointing principals and deputies to try and stop the racketeering.

But some schools appear to be ignoring the new rule.

A principal of an intermediate school inVryburg in North West told City Press this week that she had received death threats from Sadtu officials who were hounding her out of her job so that they could replace her with the Sadtu branch secretary (see sidebar).

City Press understands that North West education authorities are considering launching a province-wide investigation into Sadtu’s racketeering in the province after a forensic investigation into a jobs scam in one district revealed that it was far more widespread than was originally thought.

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