‘Spats with minister’ leads to HOD’s axing

2012-04-23 15:16

Controversial Eastern Cape education head Modidima Mannya’s public bickering with Basic Education Minister Angie Motshekga has finally led to the termination of his contract with the province.

The termination of Mannya’s three-year contract, which began in November 2010, was announced by Premier Noxolo Kiviet in Bhisho today.

The government said the breakup was amicable. But ANC provincial secretary Lubabalo Mabuyane said it was related to his relationship with Motshekga.

“The stand-off between the provincial administration, particularly advocate Mannya, and the national minister was really unfortunate, which we as the ANC can’t be happy with,” Mabuyane said.

“We believe that ANC deployees should definitely rise above petty, peripheral, personal differences ... At no stage would it help a situation where there is a very hostile environment between two critical people who are responsible to look after the very sensitive issue in this province,” he said.

In her statement Kiviet said a decision to “re-determine” Mannya’s contract was taken following discussions through mutual agreement between Mannya and her executive committee.

“In terms of this re-determination the contract will end on April 30 2012 while his operational responsibilities as head of department will cease with effect from the date of the signing of the agreement (today),” Kiviet said.

Neither Kiviet nor Mannya would say whether Mannya would be paid for the remainder of his contract or give details of the settlement.

Kiviet thanked Mannya for his service to education, saying: “This agreement was reached in the best interest of education in the province of the Eastern Cape and is not by any means a pronouncement on the suitability or not of the head of the department of education.”

Mmanya said the children of the Eastern Cape had been his primary concern. He thanked the ANC and SAPC in the province for their support.

The DA’s Edmund van Vuuren lamented the announcement, saying government had caved under pressure from the South African Democratic Teachers’ Union (Sadtu). “Mannya never allowed Sadtu to dictate terms to him as to how this department should be managed.

“Because of this stand-off and the type of pressure on him one can understand him throwing in the towel,” he said.

Sadtu provincial secretary Mncekeleli Ndongeni said the decision was a culmination of a process started by a collective and would benefit the children of the Eastern Cape.

The announcement of Mannya’s departure came on the same day that negotiations broke down between government and Sadtu on the number of teachers to be employed in the province.

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